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Career moves

Mellody Hobson makes history at Chicago Economic Club

Ariel Investments President Mellody Hobson

Ariel Investments President Mellody Hobson will become the first African-American woman to chair the Economic Club of Chicago.

Hobson, 48, will lead the nonprofit's board in July, at the end of the two-year term of Ilene Gordon, CEO of Westchester, Ill.-based ingredient and food-flavoring maker Ingredion. Gordon was the first woman to be appointed to the role.

The business and civic club announced Hobson's appointment as chair at its annual dinner meeting tonight. Hobson joined the club some 20 years ago, at the time becoming one of its youngest members ever.

She oversees every aspect of investment fund Ariel, which had $11.7 billion under management as of the end of March, except for the Chicago company's research and portfolio management functions.

Hobson also serves on the boards of Starbucks and Estee Lauder; provides financial commentary for CBS News and the nationally syndicated "Tom Joyner Morning Show"; and is chairman of Chicago nonprofit After School Matters, which organizes activities for Chicago teens.

In 2009, Hobson's colleague and boss, Ariel Investments Chairman and CEO John Rogers Jr., became the first African-American chair of the invitation-only Economic Club, founded in 1927 and one of the most prestigious for the city's business elite.

Other appointees named Monday night were Reeve Waud, founder and managing partner of Waud Capital Partners, as first vice chair for programs; and Elizabeth Connelly, industry head of health care, higher education and nonprofit banking at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., as second vice chair for forums.

"Mellody Hobson makes history at Chicago Economic Club" originally appeared on Crain's Chicago Business, a sister publication of Pensions & Investments.