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Thursday, July 11, 2019

Rogers Shares the Reins

Reported by Neil Anderson, Managing Editor

John Rogers is sharing the reins.

Mellody Louise Hobson
Ariel Investments
Co-CEO, President
This morning, Rogers confirms that Ariel Investments [profile] president Mellody Hobson has been promoted to co-CEO and will become the 36-year-old fund firm's plurality shareholder after buying some of his shares. Rogers, founder and chairman of the Chicago-based fund firm, will shift from sole CEO to co-CEO and will remain chief investment officer.

Once Hobson's share purchase deal with Rogers closes, Hobson will own 39.5 percent of Ariel. Rogers will own 34.1 percent, other Ariel employees and board members will own 21.8 percent, and outside investors will hold 4.6 percent.

Rogers lauds Hobson as "an energetic and relentless member of the Ariel family."

"Her elevation to Co-CEO recognizes the reality that we have both led this firm for many years," Rogers states.

"This news is exciting, but unsurprising," Rogers writes in an open letter to "clients and friends" of the fund firm. "As many know, Mellody has spent her entire professional career of nearly 28 years at our firm and has served as Ariel's President since 2000."

Rogers also emphasizes that he isn't ready to ride off into the sunset himself just yet, despite Hobson's rise.

"While we are deliberately considering succession planning, rest assured, my own plan is to continue managing stock portfolios for at least another decade — if not more," Rogers writes. "I am confident Mellody is more than equipped to help take our firm to the next level. And I look forward to being right there, standing alongside her for this next phase."

An alumna of Princeton, Hobson started out at Ariel as a summer intern before joining full time at Ariel in client services and marketing upon graduation. She is vice chairman of the board of Starbucks and a board member of both the Estee Lauder Companies and J.P. Morgan Chase.

Ariel now has 104 employees and $13.1 billion in AUM across nine SMA strategies and five mutual funds. 

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