Groupon has just announced in a press release the addition of Ariel Investments president Mellody Hobson to the company’s Board of Directors. In addition to the president position Hobson is also Chairman of the Board of of trustees for Ariel’s no-load mutual funds.
Hobson has built a career as a consumer finance watchdog, making regular appearances on Good Morning America, Tom Joyner’s Money Mondays, in addition to writing a column for Black Enterprise according to the press release. She is also on the board of three other public companies including Dreamworks, Estée Lauder and Starbucks.
Hobson will be the first female on the Groupon board, joining CEO Andrew Mason and investors Kevin Efrusy, Peter Barris, Brad Keywell, Eric Lefkofsky and Starbucks president Howard Schultz (who I’m assuming made the intro).
“Mellody is an advocate for savvy consumer spending and educated business decisions,” said Andrew Mason in the release. Aside from this post on how to handle the “quiet period” this is a rare piece of news to come out of Groupon post S-1 filing.
Perhaps this is more than a coincidence — Having a consumer finance expert on your board as you prepare to IPO, especially when faced with an onslaught of negative media coverage, can only be a good thing right?