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Another 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


June 7, 2021


Another Company Update

As we enter the homestretch of working remotely with our country beginning to recover from this devastating pandemic, we continue to believe an elevated level of written communication helps keep our valued clients and friends informed on our efforts.

Although we have not sat together since March 2020, our team has been as effective, and our work has been as seamless as any time in our history. The complexity of managing both market and client demands during an extraordinary time has made us better. As Warren Buffett has been known to say, “Champions adapt.”

The Seats are Filled

Although we enthusiastically wrote about the addition of two new Ariel Investments board members in our most recent memo, we were not quite done. Today, we are delighted to announce Judy Smith, the renowned communications guru, will also join our board effective July 1st. Many know Judy was the inspiration for the hit TV series, Scandal, but she is far more than the “fixer” played by Kerry Washington. For over 25 years, Judy has served as a wise and savvy counselor to Fortune 500 CEOs, U.S. presidents as well as other world leaders and high-profile individuals. Her namesake firm, Smith & Company, is a global strategic advisory business with offices in Washington D.C., Los Angeles, New York City and London.

We are also happy to welcome Carlos E. Calderon who starts today as Ariel’s new Chief Financial Officer. Carlos joins us from Morgan Stanley subsidiary, Eaton Vance, where he had a myriad of responsibilities including strategic planning and profitability reporting for the company as well as its mutual fund boards. Prior to Eaton Vance, Carlos held leadership positions at State Street Global Advisors and Bank of New York Mellon Corp. Given his deep expertise in financial strategies and systems, Carlos will be a great addition to our Operating Committee. Carlos immigrated to the United States from Ecuador when he was just three years old. He grew up in Massachusetts where he attended college and has worked for most of his professional life. We are excited to introduce him, his wife and 19-month-old son to the great city of Chicago.

Last but certainly not least, Todor Petrov has recently joined us as a Senior Research Associate on our International and Global team. Prior to Ariel, Todor spent 17 years at Lord Abbett & Co. Earlier in his career, he served as an equity analyst at Credit Suisse Asset Management as well as Warburg Pincus.

The Stars are Aligning

In February, we launched our private equity firm, Ariel Alternatives, and its first initiative, Project Black. Since that time, its Chairman Les Brun has been busy recruiting four more world-class leaders to round out its newly formed advisory board. We call this group “The Accelerants” because we firmly believe their individual and collective experiences will significantly augment our efforts as we work to scale sustainable, minority-owned businesses.

Stacy Brown-Philpot is one of the few Black female leaders in Silicon Valley. Most recently, she spearheaded IKEA’s purchase of TaskRabbit where she served as CEO. She currently is a board member of HP Inc., Noom, Inc. and Nordstrom, Inc. Stacy is also a founding member of the SoftBank Opportunity Fund.

Vicki Fuller is the former Chief Investment Officer of the New York State Common Retirement Fund—the third largest public pension fund in the U.S. with over $200 billion in assets. Prior to her leadership of the Fund, she worked in senior management positions at AllianceBernstein, Standard and Poor’s as well as Morgan Stanley. She is currently a board member of Blackstone/GSO Secured Lending, Fidelity Investments, Inc., Treliant, LLC as well as The Williams Companies, Inc.

Mark Hawkins has spent over 35 years leading finance organizations at global software and technology companies. Most recently, he served as President, CFO and Principal Financial Officer of, Inc. Previously, he held senior roles at Autodesk, Inc., Dell Technologies Inc., HP, Inc., and Logitech International SA. He is currently a board member of Plex Systems, SecureWorks, Inc. and Toast, Inc.

Shelley Stewart, Jr. will be especially critical as we seek to engage Fortune 500 procurement officers on behalf of Project Black’s future companies. Shelley is Chairman of the Billion Dollar Roundtable Inc., a top-level advocacy organization that promotes corporate supplier diversity excellence and advances best practices through its member companies. Before retiring, Shelley served as Chief Procurement Officer of DuPont where he also led global sourcing and logistics. In addition, he oversaw real estate along with facility services, and played a significant role in the DowDuPont merger. Shelley currently serves on the boards of Otis Worldwide Corp. and Kontoor Brands, Inc.

The Return to Office is Coming

We expect our teammates to begin to return to the office this summer with a clear goal of resuming full office operations after Labor Day. That said, we want to manage this process thoughtfully, not with edicts—recognizing concerns still exist and some lifestyles changed during the pandemic. As such, we will work to accommodate individual needs while not compromising on our collective output. No matter where we are, always know every day, we are intensely focused on protecting and growing your capital, while striving to provide incomparable client service.

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