Share  |  Print
Company Board of Directors

Our company board of directors provides strategic guidance to us in every facet of our business.

Martijn Cremers

Martijn Cremers, PhD

Dean of the Mendoza College of Business
University of Notre Dame
Professor Cremers serves as the Martin J. Gillen Dean of the Mendoza College of Business at the University of Notre Dame since July 2019. He has been on the faculty at Notre Dame since 2012, and was appointed the Bernard J. Hank Professor of Finance in 2018. Previously, he was a faculty member of the Yale School of Management for 10 years. His paper, “How active is your fund manager? A new measure that predicts performance” (published in 2009 in the Review of Financial Studies) introduced “Active Share”, a new measure of active management. This innovative analysis is based on a comparison of fund holdings versus those of its benchmark and has become widely adopted throughout the financial industry. He has an undergraduate degree in Econometrics from the Free University Amsterdam and earned his PhD in Finance from the Stern School of Business at New York University.
Arne Duncan

Arne Duncan

Managing Partner
Emerson Collective
As managing partner at Emerson Collective, an organization dedicated to removing barriers so people can live to their full potential, former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is on a mission to improve the lives of young adults in Chicago. Through partnerships with local business leaders, community organizers, and nonprofit groups, Duncan aims to provide outreach, therapeutic, education, and employment opportunities for the young men most likely to be engaged in gun violence. Prior to joining the Obama Administration, Duncan served as chief executive officer of Chicago Public Schools. From 2001 to 2008, Duncan won praise for uniting the city’s stakeholders behind an education agenda that included opening 100 new schools; expanding after-school, summer learning, early childhood, and college access programs; dramatically boosting the caliber of teachers; and building public-private partnerships around a variety of education initiatives. Duncan graduated magna cum laude from Harvard University in 1987, majoring in sociology. At Harvard he served as co-captain of the basketball team and was named a first team Academic All-American.
Mellody Hobson

Mellody Hobson

Co-CEO & President
Ariel Investments
Chair of the Board of Trustees
Ariel Investment Trust
As Co-CEO, Mellody is responsible for management, strategic planning and growth for all areas of Ariel Investments outside of research and portfolio management. Additionally, she serves as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Ariel Investment Trust—the company’s publicly traded mutual funds. Prior to being named Co-CEO, Mellody spent nearly two decades as the firm’s President. Outside of Ariel, Mellody is a nationally recognized voice on financial literacy. Her leadership has also been invaluable to corporate boardrooms across the nation. She currently serves as Chair of the Board of Starbucks Corporation. She is also a director of JPMorgan Chase. She previously served as Chairman of the Board of DreamWorks Animation until the company’s sale and was also a long-standing board member of the Estée Lauder Companies. Mellody’s community outreach includes her role as Chairman of After School Matters, a Chicago non-profit that provides area teens with high-quality after school and summer programs. Additionally, she is vice chair of World Business Chicago; co-chair of the Lucas Museum of Narrative Art; and a board member of the George Lucas Education Foundation and Bloomberg Philanthropies. She also serves on the board of trustees of the Center for Strategic & International Studies, and of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). Mellody is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, The Rockefeller Foundation Board of Trustees, and serves on the executive committee of the Investment Company Institute. Mellody earned her AB from Princeton University’s Woodrow Wilson School of International Relations and Public Policy. In 2019, she was awarded the University’s highest honor, the Woodrow Wilson Award, presented annually to a Princeton graduate whose career embodies a commitment to national service. She has also received honorary doctorate degrees from Howard University, Johns Hopkins University, St. Mary’s College, and the University of Southern California. In 2015, Time Magazine named her one of the “100 Most Influential People” in the world.
Valerie Jarrett

Valerie Jarrett

Former Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama
Valerie is the Chief Executive Officer of the Barack Obama Foundation and a Senior Distinguished Fellow at the University of Chicago Law School. She is the author of the New York Times bestselling book Finding My Voice: My Journey to the West Wing and the Path Forward. She serves as Board Chair of Civic Nation and Co-Chair of The United State of Women. She also serves on the boards of Lyft, Ralph Lauren, Walgreens Boots Alliance, Sweetgreen, the Innocence Project, the Economic Club of Chicago and the John F. Kennedy Center for Performing Arts. Additionally, Valerie is a Senior Advisor to the Obama Foundation as well as ATTN:, a Los Angeles-based media firm. Valerie was the longest serving Senior Advisor to President Barack Obama and championed the creation of equality and opportunity for all Americans as she oversaw the Offices of Public Engagement and Intergovernmental Affairs and chaired the White House Council on Women and Girls. Valerie has a background in both the public and private sectors: she served as the Chief Executive Officer of The Habitat Company in Chicago, Commissioner of Planning and Development, and Deputy Chief of Staff for Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley. Valerie serves as Board Chair of When We All Vote and Co-Chair of The United State of Women, and has served as the director of numerous corporate and not-for-profit boards including Chairman of the Board of the Chicago Stock Exchange, Chairman of the University of Chicago Medical Center Board of Trustees, Vice Chairman of the University of Chicago Board of Trustees, Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and Chair of Chicago Transit Board. She received her B.A. from Stanford University in 1978 and her J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School in 1981.
Fazal Merchant

Fazal Merchant

Former Co-CEO
Tanium Inc.
Fazal most recently served as Co-CEO of Tanium Inc., a leading high-growth global cyber-security and IT management firm. Previously, he was Chief Financial Officer of DreamWorks Animation SKG, where he was integral to the company’s sale to Comcast. Prior to that, Fazal was an executive officer at DIRECTV and helped lead the company’s sale to AT&T. Earlier in his career, Fazal spent several years in investment banking at Barclays Capital and Royal Bank of Scotland, as well as Ford Motor Company. Fazal currently serves on the boards of Meritor (NYSE: MTOR), Ryman Hospitality Properties (NYSE: RHP), and Warner Bros. Discovery, Inc. (NASDAQ: WBD). He is also an advisor to various enterprises across the media and technology ecosystems. Fazal earned a Bachelor of Business Administration from the University of Texas at Austin, and an MBA from Indiana University.

John W. Rogers, Jr.

Chairman, Co-CEO & Chief Investment Officer
Ariel Investments  
John’s passion for investing began at age 12 when his father began buying him stocks as Christmas and birthday gifts. His interest in equities grew at Princeton University, where he majored in economics, and over the two-plus years he worked as a stockbroker for William Blair & Company, LLC. In 1983, John founded Ariel to focus on patient, value investing within small- and medium-sized companies. While our research capabilities have expanded across the globe, patience is still the disciplined approach that drives the firm today. Early in his career, John’s investment acumen brought him to the forefront of media attention and culminated in him being selected as Co-Mutual Fund Manager of the Year by Sylvia Porter’s Personal Finance magazine as well as an All-Star Mutual Fund Manager by USA TODAY. Furthermore, John has been highlighted alongside legendary investors Warren Buffett, Sir John Templeton and Ben Graham in the distinguished book: “The World’s 99 Greatest Investors” by Magnus Angenfelt. His professional accomplishments extend to the boardroom where he is a member of the board of directors of McDonald’s, NIKE, The New York Times Company, and Ryan Specialty Group Holdings. John also serves as vice chair of the board of trustees of the University of Chicago. Additionally, he is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a director of the Robert F. Kennedy Center for Justice and Human Rights. In 2008, John was awarded Princeton University’s highest honor, the Woodrow Wilson Award, presented each year to the alumnus or alumna whose career embodies a commitment to national service. Following the election of President Barack Obama, John served as co-chair for the Presidential Inaugural Committee 2009, and more recently, he joined the Barack Obama Foundation’s Board of Directors. John received an AB in economics from Princeton University, where he was also captain of the varsity basketball team.

“The World’s 99 Greatest Investors: The Secret of Success” by Magnus Angenfelt was published on July 27, 2014 by Roos & Tegnér AB. The book states that the 99 investors selected had, at that time, outperformed the market by approximately twelve percentage points a year over 25 years and each managed an average of $10 billion at the time of writing. Click here to read an excerpt of the book and additional disclosures.

Anthony Romero

Anthony D. Romero

Executive Director
American Civil Liberties Union
Anthony has been the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the nation's premier defender of civil liberties, since 2001. He took the helm of the organization just seven days before the September 11th attacks, and has presided over the most prodigious growth in the ACLU's history, dramatically increasing its membership, national and affiliate staff, and budget. Earlier in his career, Anthony served as Director of Human Rights and International Cooperation at the Ford Foundation; and Senior Program Advisor and Weaver Fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation. He currently serves on the Board of Physicians for Human Rights; the Advisory Council of the Global Forum for Freedom and Justice; the Racial Justice Task Force of the Robin Hood Foundation; and is a member of the New York State Bar. Born in New York City to parents who hailed from Puerto Rico, Romero was the first in his family to graduate from high school. He is a graduate of Stanford University Law School and The Princeton School of Public Policy and International Affairs. In 2005, he was named one of Time Magazine’s 25 most influential Hispanics in America; and in 2020, he was awarded Princeton University’s highest honor, previously named the Woodrow Wilson Award, presented annually to a graduate whose career embodies a commitment to national service.
Judy Smith

Judy Smith

Founder & President
Smith & Company
Judy is a strategic counselor who has advised U.S. Presidents, global leaders, and Fortune 500 companies on a wide array of complex challenges and issues. In 1993, she founded Smith & Company, a strategic advisory firm with offices in Washington D.C., Los Angeles, New York, and London. A former federal prosecutor, she worked in the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia and the Office of the Independent Counsel, and she served at the White House as Deputy Press Secretary to President George H.W. Bush. Prior to her legal career, Judy worked as a writer and public affairs specialist for several publications and private organizations headquartered in Washington, D.C. Judy holds a BS in public relations from Boston University and a JD from the American University Washington College of Law, where she was the first Black woman to serve on the Executive Board of the Law Review. She is the inspiration for the protagonist in the hit TV series, “Scandal,” for which she also served as Executive Producer. She is the author of the book, Good Self, Bad Self, published by Free Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Heather Tookes

Heather Tookes, PhD

Professor of Finance
Yale School of Management
Professor Tookes has been on the faculty of Yale School of Management since 2004. She has held a number of academic posts at Yale, including Associate Professor of Finance, and Assistant Professor of Finance. Prior to Yale, she was a Visiting Assistant Professor of Finance at Cornell University’s Johnson Graduate School of Management. Professor Tookes’ research lies at the intersection of capital markets and corporate finance, with a particular focus on credit and credit-linked derivatives markets. She also studies various aspects of corporate finance, including M&A transactions and the valuation effects of initial public offerings on rival firms. Professor Tookes received her BA in Economics from Brown and her PhD in Finance from Cornell. She is a member of the FINRA Economic Advisory Committee, the Academic Female Advisory Committee (AFFECT) of the American Finance Association, and the Committee on Racial Diversity (CORD) of the American Finance Association. She also serves on the Board of Trustees of Berkeley Divinity School at Yale, the Investments Committee of the Community Foundation of Greater New Haven, and the board of directors of Payoneer Global Inc.

Paula Wolff

Illinois Justice Project
Paula serves as Policy Advisor to the Illinois Justice Project, a civic organization implementing policy initiatives and programs to improve the justice system. Formerly, she served as president of Governors State University and director of policy for Governor James R. Thompson. She has taught public policy at Governors State University and Irving B. Harris School of Public Policy at the University of Chicago. Paula has a BA from Smith College, as well as an MA and a PhD from the University of Chicago in political science. She serves on various boards including Vice President of the Chicago Police Board, the University of Chicago Medical Center, the University of Chicago emerita, the Johnson Foundation and the Metropolitan Planning Council, and chaired the Illinois Tollway and Chicago City College Boards.
Past performance does not guarantee future results. © Ariel Investments, LLC. This website and all of its content is for informational and educational purposes only and should not be considered to be investment advice or a recommendation to buy or sell any particular security. The mutual funds offered by Ariel Investment Trust are distributed by Ariel Distributors, LLC, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Ariel Investments, LLC. Use of this website is subject to our Terms & Conditions. The Ariel mutual funds referred to in this site may be offered only to persons in the United States. This web site should not be considered a solicitation or offering of any investment products, funds or services to ineligible investors, investors for whom such products, funds or services are not suitable, or investors outside the United States.

Check the background of Ariel Distributors, LLC on FINRA's BrokerCheck
Ariel Distributors, LLC is a member of the Securities Investor Protection Corporation