Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group appears set at six total members

Aug 10, 2022, 3:14 PM

The Denver Broncos have now introduced their new ownership group to the world, officially called the Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group.

The non-family members of the leadership group are Mellody Hobson, Dr. Condoleezza Rice, and Sir Lewis Hamilton.

Hobson, an accomplished 53-year-old businesswoman, was in Denver on Wednesday. She said gracefully, “it is such an honor and a privilege to be an owner of this remarkable organization.”

Her resume includes banking, investments, entertainment, and food service ventures. Hobson’s lengthiest association is with Ariel Investments, which manages $15 billion in assets. She became president of Ariel in 2000 at age 31 and, since 2019, has been one of the company’s co-CEOs. This was the launching pad for a resume that includes:

  • Directorship at JPMorgan Chase
  • Chairman of the Board of DreamWorks Animation
  • Board member, Estée Lauder Companies
  • Chairwoman of the board, Starbucks

She took on the role at Starbucks in 2020, making her the first Black woman to become the chairperson of a company in the Standard & Poor’s 500.

“The moment is humbling, and it’s historical. And yet, I feel at home,” Hobson said on Wednesday. “I’m very excited to be here; as someone once wrote, ‘If you are going to exceed your wildest expectations, your wildest dreams, you have to start with some pretty wild dreams. And this is certainly in that category. It is a joy to partner with other members of this ownership group I’ve admired for a long time.”

NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and former Broncos president and CEO Joe Ellis both were on record about the importance of minority representation in the group assuming control of the team.

“I also want to acknowledge the bond I feel with the players who, like me, have had to overcome a lot in their lives. And I know how much focus and discipline it has taken for them to get here,” Hobson added. “I also know all of the people, the family at home, the community that they are responsible for, and that they understand how much that community wants to see them win and how much they want to win for that community. I feel a bond with them, and I’m happy to be a part of the organization and stand with them.”

Hobson has made connections with other athletes in the past. Most notably Hamilton, who she views as a little brother.

Hamilton, one of the greatest sportspeople of their generation, is the winner of seven Formula One Driver’s Championships. He was added to the Broncos ownership group after consulting with Hobson.

“I call him sir little brother as a result of that (him being knighted last year,)” Hobson quipped. “He is the GOAT in his field, the greatest of all time. And he has this winning mentality not just on the track but in everything he does. He cares deeply about people, our planet, and diversity, equity, and inclusion. So I know you’re going to when you get the opportunity to meet him, love him as much as I do.”

Hobson is also married to filmmaking titan George Lucas of “Star Wars” fame if you’re looking for the Star Wars x F1 at Walmart crossover.

New Broncos CEO Greg Penner said the team is not looking to add any more limited partners. He did go on to applaud John Elway and Peyton Manning, saying he’ll have his ear open to their guidance.

With Rice, 67, and Hamilton, 37, also being relatively young, it could be a while before the Broncos see a significant change in leadership, even with Walton being 77 years old, given his daughter and son-in-law are already at the wheel.



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Walton-Penner Family Ownership Group appears set at six total members