Starbucks Corporation announced in December 2020, that Mellody Hobson will serve as the company’s next chair of its board of directors starting in March 2021, the first black woman to hold that position. According to the Starbucks website, Hobson joined the board as an independent director in 2005 and was appointed as the board’s independent vice-chair in 2018.
Many companies across the country are faced with criticism for the lack of diversity on their corporate boards and are being pushed to make changes. A September report from ISS ESG, the responsible-investment arm of Institutional Shareholder Services shows only 16.8% of large-cap company boards have racially or ethnically diverse directors, up from 13.6% in 2015.
The business executive shared her excitement by saying she’s “thrilled and honored to take on the role of chair,” at Starbucks, adding that “over nearly two decades, I have seen the company continue to elevate and transform its business – adapting to various market environments and evolving consumer trends. I look forward to working with the board and talented leadership team on accelerating our strategy, supporting our valued partners, and continuing to create significant value for all of our stakeholders.” Hobson continued, “On behalf of the board, I would also like to thank Mike for his strong leadership, and all of his invaluable contributions.”
Howard Schultz the Starbucks modern-day founder and chairman emeritus released a statement. He says: Mellody has been a trusted advisor to me and the company for more than20 years. She is a fearless leader defined by her grace and wisdom. She has long embraced the purpose of Starbucks and, along with the leadership team, will continue to reimagine Starbucks ‘ future through the foundation of its past. My heart is full and thankful that Starbucks will have Mellody’s leadership as chair.”