Mellody Hobson

Mellody Hobson

Co-CEO, Ariel Investments
Ariel Investments LLC President Mellody Hobson Interview

The youngest of six children, Mellody Hobson was raised in Chicago by a single mother who struggled to keep the family afloat financially. Hobson credits that experience with her drive to succeed—and her efforts to promote financial literacy for others now in similar situations.

In July 2019, Hobson’s dedication paid off when she was named co-CEO of Ariel Investments, which, with $12.8 billion in assets under management, is the largest African American-owned investment firm. Founder and co-CEO John Rogers also announced that he was selling Hobson enough of his shares in the firm to make her the business’ largest shareholder.

It was a long climb to the top. Hobson joined Ariel as a summer intern in 1989, when she was a Princeton University undergraduate, and rose to become president in 2000, two decades before being appointed co-CEO. In the process, Hobson has become one of the country’s most visible African American business leaders, as well as one of its most visible female business leaders. In 2014, she gave a TED talk titled “Color Blind or Color Brave?” in which she urged Americans to engage in more open, even uncomfortable conversations about race, calling such exchanges a path to better businesses and a better society. The next year, Time named her one of the 100 Most Influential People in the World.

Hobson, who is married to director George Lucas, is also a board member of Starbucks, JPMorgan Chase and Quibi, a short-form video content company founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg.

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