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Company Update


Clients and Friends of Ariel Investments, LLC


John W. Rogers, Jr., Chairman, Co-CEO and Chief Investment Officer and Mellody Hobson, Co-CEO and President


March 24, 2021


Company Update

In the absence of in person meetings, we believe more communication is necessary to ensure our valued clients and friends are well-informed about our actions and plans.

New Engagements

The recent founding of Ariel Alternatives has led us to review and rationalize our corporate governance structure. Since our inception, we have benefitted from having a strong Company Board comprised of exceptionally talented leaders. When we established our Mutual Fund Board of Trustees, we built upon this tradition. Now, with the formation of Ariel Alternatives and Project Black, we have the opportunity to leverage longstanding board members while adding new voices to the conversation.

Three members of our Company Board of Directors and one member of the Ariel Mutual Fund Board of Trustees will move over to redirect their institutional knowledge and expertise to Ariel Alternatives as members of a newly created board that is still in formation and expected to be established as of June 30, 2021.

More specifically, Leslie A. Brun will depart the Company Board in order to focus full-time on serving as Chairman and CEO of Ariel Alternatives. As former Founder, Chairman and CEO of Hamilton Lane, Les has deep expertise in private equity. As a seasoned public company board member and board chair, he also knows good governance. We literally could not have a better person leading this consequential new division of our firm.

Les will be joined by 30+ year board veteran, David J. Vitale. With his long tenure, Dave understands Ariel’s DNA and knows asset management from his days as Vice Chair of Bank One. In addition to the business insight derived from his public company board roles, Dave runs our Operating Committee as a Special Advisor to the firm. Given his unique outsider/insider position, we believe he can be an effective liaison between New Co. and the senior leaders who will provide shared services to Ariel Alternatives.

Paget L. Alves will be joining Les and Dave since he will also be playing an active role at the portfolio company level. Paget’s experience as former Chief Sales Officer and President of Business Markets Group of Sprint and board member of four public companies will be critical as Ariel Alternatives seeks to scale sustainable minority-owned businesses.

William M. Lewis, Jr. recently departed from the Ariel Mutual Fund Board in anticipation of his addition to the Ariel Alternatives boardroom. Bill’s expertise advising countless M&A transactions as Managing Director and Chairman of Investment Banking at Lazard Ltd. will be hugely beneficial to Project Black’s investment team.

Lastly, in the spirit of strong governance, we have decided to limit insider seats on the Ariel Investments board to the Co-CEOs. This change is being made to ensure independent directors have the room to push us to be better. As a result, Charlie Bobrinskoy will move off the Company Board. Charlie is a passionate intellect who will continue to add tremendous value as the firm’s Vice Chairman and member of our domestic equity research team.

New Perspectives

We are taking the opportunity to appoint two new members to the Ariel Investments Company Board who will bring fresh perspectives and values-based thinking to the table.

Fazal Merchant most recently served as Co-CEO of Tanium Inc., a leading global cyber-security and IT management firm based in Silicon Valley. Before Tanium, Fazal was Chief Financial Officer of DreamWorks Animation SKG. Prior to DreamWorks, Fazal was an executive officer at DIRECTV where he 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. In addition to Tanium, he currently serves on the boards of Meritor (NYSE: MTOR) and Ryman Hospitality Properties (NYSE: RHP). He is also an advisor to various enterprises across the media and technology ecosystems.

We are also excited to welcome fellow Princetonian, Anthony Romero, who has been the Executive Director of the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the nation's premier defender of civil liberties, since 2001. Earlier in his career, he worked at the prestigious Ford and Rockefeller foundations. In addition to serving on a number of philanthropic boards, Anthony is a member of the New York State Bar. In 2005, he was named one of Time Magazine’s 25 most influential Hispanics in America. Last year, he was the first Latinx man to be awarded Princeton’s highest honor which is presented annually to a graduate whose career embodies a commitment to national service.

Both Fazal and Anthony have demonstrated excellence in corporate governance and will be tremendous assets to our firm.

New Endeavors

Working at home amidst the pandemic has led many to deeply reflect on their lives. As vaccinations expand and re-entry approaches, two of our valued teammates are looking to their next chapters.

After nearly 16 years at Ariel, our friend and Chief Financial Officer, Maureen Longoria, has decided to explore new opportunities. Maureen has always been dedicated and tireless in her efforts. Anyone who has engaged with her knows she personifies Ariel’s best qualities. Happily working from her Wisconsin home during the pandemic has led her to re-think returning to Chicago full time. We thank her for her significant contributions and wish her all the very best. As we search for a new CFO, we appreciate Maureen’s willingness to stay through June to ensure a smooth transition and to also be available should we need her advice or counsel thereafter.

David Maley will also be leaving Ariel at the end of the second quarter. After a brutal time for the very smallest and most undervalued companies, we are pleased to see David’s micro- and small cap deep value portfolios recover. David is a smart and thoughtful investor who has had the courage of his convictions throughout one of the toughest periods. Once an entrepreneur, always an entrepreneur. David joined Ariel in 2009 from his own firm and will be leaving to become the Founder and Chief Investment Officer of a new family office and investment advisory firm. He also expects to continue his focus on special situations micro-cap investing. We will be rooting for him as he ventures out on his own again.

New World

Like many, we are eager to be vaccinated and many of us are waiting our turn. We are hopeful America will re-open this summer and look forward to getting back to the office when the proverbial “coast is clear.” Our return will include a new office. We look forward to welcoming clients to our first West Coast location overlooking San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge from the famed Presidio. In the meantime, please know we are fully engaged in our relentless effort to grow and protect your money while providing exceptional service along the way. Should you have any questions or need additional information, do not hesitate to contact us.

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