As co-CEO of Ariel Investments, Mellody Hobson is responsible for all firm-wide management, including strategic planning and growth as well as every aspect of Ariel’s business beyond research and portfolio management. Prior to her formal appointment to co-CEO, Hobson served as president of Ariel for nearly two decades. She also functions as chairman of the board of trustees for Ariel Investment Trust. Beyond her work at Ariel, she has become a nationally recognized voice on financial literacy and investor education. She is a regular contributor and analyst on finance, the markets, and economic trends for CBS News. She also pens a column for Black Enterprise magazine. As a passionate advocate for investor education, Hobson is a spokesperson for the Ariel/Hewitt Study: 401(k) Plans in Living Color and the Ariel Black Investor Survey, both of which examine investing patterns among minorities. Her leadership has not only been invaluable to Ariel but to corporate boardrooms as well. Specifically, she is vice chair of the board of Starbucks Corporation, a director of JPMorgan Chase, and a director of Quibi, a short-form video content company.
Previously, she was a long-standing board member of the Estée Lauder Companies and also held the position of chairman of the board of DreamWorks Animation until which time she facilitated its sale to Comcast. Her community outreach includes serving as chairman of After School Matters, a nonprofit that provides Chicago teens with high-quality, out-of-school-time programs. She is vice chair of World Business Chicago’s board of directors, co-chair of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art, a board member of the George Lucas Education Foundation, and LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Rockefeller Foundation board of trustees and serves on the executive committee of the Investment Company Institute’s board of governors.
Hobson earned an AB from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of International Relations and Public Policy. In 2019, she was awarded Princeton’s highest honor, the Woodrow Wilson Award, presented each year to the alumnus or alumna whose career embodies a commitment to national service. She has also received honorary doctorate degrees from Howard University, St. Mary’s College, the University of Southern California, and Johns Hopkins University.