Aranathan “AJ” Jones

  • Dean's Advisory Council Member


A distinguished corporate affairs and communication leader, Mr. Jones II is a globally recognized C-suite executive with a professional background in financial services, healthcare, technology, philanthropy, retail, and economic development; and significant experience in the corporate, governmental, multilateral, and civil-society sectors. His unique ability to strategically connect ESG metrics, regulatory disclosures, financial risks, sustainable value creation, capital market opportunities, social impact and public policy initiatives within corporate governance platforms has made him a sought-after sustainability thought-leader by Fortune 500 companies, national non-profits, government leaders, and multilateral agencies.

Mr. Jones II has received numerous citations for his corporate business development strategies, investor relations acuity, corporate and crisis communications proficiencies, government affairs and public policy acumen, and leadership development capabilities. He has previously chaired three board audit committees, served as a qualified financial expert on national non-profit boards, and has advised on SOX-related COBIT frameworks.

A global professional, he has worked internationally in United Arab Emirates, South Africa, Germany, United Kingdom, Hong Kong, France, Canada, and Nigeria. Furthermore, he has extensive regional business experience in Asia, the Middle East, and Europe. Mr. Jones II speaks Yoruba (a prominent Nigerian language) and is learning conversational Hebrew.

Currently, he is the Executive Vice President, Chief Communications and Public Affairs Officer at Starbucks Coffee Company. He leads the company’s global communications, partner (employee) communications, corporate and investor communications, brand and consumer communications, Starbucks Stories, Starbucks Entertainment, public policy, and government affairs teams worldwide. As an executive member of the Senior Executive Leadership Team, Mr. Jones II works to advance the company’s global “Growth at Scale” agenda, and proactively directs investments in service to products, partners, customers, and social impact.

Prior to his role at Starbucks, Mr. Jones II was the Chief Corporate Affairs and Communications Officer for Vanda Pharmaceuticals (NASDAQ: VNDA), a global biopharmaceutical company. As a Named Executive Officer, he served as Vanda’s lead interface to the investment community, and as an executive member of the company’s corporate development, M&A, & licensing review committee, and its Board of Directors (BOD) BOD’s audit committee. His leadership in those roles resulted in the company launching the largest number of clinical trials since its founding and successfully transitioned it from a central nervous system-focused to a multi-therapeutic product organization. In addition to being the company’s lead spokesperson, he directed the following corporate functions: business analytics and corporate intelligence, government relations, corporate brand marketing, ESG and sustainability, regulatory policy, and patient advocacy.

Before joining Vanda, Mr. Jones II held several C-Suite roles at private and public companies, managing upwards of ~$570 million in P&Ls, while provided an array of professional services to Fortune 500 companies (ie TE Connectivity, Google, HP, Barclay’s, NBCUniversal, Expedia Group [], Intel, Caesars Entertainment, Credit Suisse, S&P Global Inc., Louis Vuitton Moët Hennessy, Bank of America, and Oracle), top-ranked academic institutions, multilateral organizations, investment firms (ie Canada Pension Plan Investment Board, Ontario Teachers’ Pension Plan Board, Fortress Investment Group, KKR, and Voya Financial), pre-IPO/SPAC companies, and G-20 government leaders.

Additionally, as W.K. Kellogg Foundation executive, he directed over ~$420 million in structured investments, successfully launched 37 social enterprises, established the celebrity entertainment and independent artist division, and oversaw $290 million in series funding rounds of portfolio held companies.

As the first African American Policy Director in the U.S. House of Representatives’ leadership, he crafted more than 214 pieces of legislation; 142 became law. In 2008, Mr. Jones II was appointed as a lead policy negotiator and external communicator for the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, which created the successful Troubled Assets Relief Program (TARP).

Mr. Jones II is an executive member of Forbes Communications Council, a lecturer at Harvard University, and an Emerging Markets Institute Fellow at Cornell University. He is a devoted jazz fan, art and horology enthusiast, and avid world traveler.