Notable Director Appointments for 2017

December 7, 2017

A Look Back at Some of the Most Noteworthy People Heading to the Nation's Boardrooms

By Barbara Wenger

The 2017 director appointments represented an outstanding group of additions including many with experience in government, technology, and climate change. The group also counted an impressive array of women leaders heading to the boardroom.

Here are some of the notable appointments announced this year in Directors & Boards’ Directors Roster.

Ellen Kullman

The retired chairman and CEO of DuPont Co. is leading the drive to bring gender equality to Corporate America with her new organization “Paradigm for Parity,

2017 First Quarter: Added to: Goldman Sachs Group Inc. - New York, NY and Amgen Inc. – Thousand Oaks, CA



David Novak

CEO of Yum! Brands from 1999, he retired in 2014. He was recognized as one of the "100 Best-Performing CEOs in the World" by Harvard Business Review. His family foundation, Lift-A-Life, supports many nonprofits, including Lead2Feed, which provides leadership and community service training for thousands of middle school and high school students.

2017 First Quarter: Added to: Comcast Corp. - Philadelphia, PA


Steven M. Mollenkopf

CEO of Qualcomm Inc. since 2014, he joined the company in 1994 and has led the company's chipset business, overseeing the launch of 4G technology, making Qualcomm the world's largest mobile chipset supplier and a global leader in LTE technology. He holds seven patents in areas such as power estimation and measurement and wireless communication transceiver technology.

2017 First Quarter: Added to: General Electric Co. - Boston, MA



Maria T. Zuber

As VP for Research at MIT since 2013, she has overall responsibility for research administration and policy. Since 1990 she has held leadership roles associated with scientific experiments or instrumentation on nine NASA missions. She is chairman of the National Science Board.

2017 First Quarter: Added to: Textron Inc. - Providence, RI


Diane M. Bryant

EVP of Intel Corporation, she leads the Data Center Group, which delivers almost half of the corporation's operating margin. Joining Intel in 1985 she held numerous roles, including corporate VP and chief information officer. In 2015 and 2016 she was among Fortune’s "50 Most Powerful Women."

2017 First Quarter: Added to: United Technologies Corp. - Farmington, CT



Robert A. Bradway

He joined Amgen in 2006 as VP of operations strategy, became president and COO in 2010, and has served as chairman and CEO since 2012. He is a director of Norfolk Southern Corp. and chairman of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer, a nonprofit organization of executives founded to bring solutions to cancer treatment and prevention.

2017 First Quarter: Added to: Boeing Co. - Chicago, IL


Maria Contreras-Sweet

Founder of the Contreras-Sweet Co., she served as the 24th Administrator of the Small Business Administration from 2014 to 2017. She was formerly the executive chairwoman and founder of Pro-America Bank, a commercial bank focusing on small to mid-sized businesses with a specialty in the Latino community, and was the California Secretary of Business, Transportation, and Housing under Governor Gray Davis. She currently serves as a director of the Congressional Hispanic Caucus Institute.

2017 Second Quarter: Added to: Sempra Energy - San Diego, CA


John J. Brennan

John J. Brennan, Chairman Emeritus & Vanguard Group Senior Advisor | American Express Board Member

Chairman emeritus, he serves as a senior adviser to The Vanguard Group. In 2009, following a 27-year career with the investment firm, he retired as chairman, a role he held since 1998. He currently is chairman of the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority Board of Governors, lead director of General Electric Co., and a trustee of the University of Notre Dame.

2017 Second Quarter: Added to: American Express Co. - New York, NY



Chelsea V. Clinton

Chelsea Clinton Appointed To Expedia's Board

Clinton is vice-chaiman of the Clinton Foundation, the Clinton Global Initiative and is a director on its board. She serves on the board of IAC/InterActive Corp., the media company that owns websites including,, Vimeo, Investopedia and the Daily Beast. On the non-profit side, she serves on the boards of the School of American Ballet, the Africa Center, Weill Cornell Medical College, and is co-chair of the advisory board for New York University's Of Many Institute.

2017 Second Quarter: Added to: Expedia Inc. - Bellevue, WA

Susan K. Avery

An atmospheric scientist, she served as president and director of the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution from 2008 to 2015. In 2013, she was named to the Scientific Advisory Board of the United Nations Secretary-General, also serving on the National Research Council Global Change Research Program Advisory Committee, and participates on advisory committees with NASA, NOAA, the National Science Foundation, and the National Park System

2017 Second Quarter: Added to: Exxon Mobil Corp. - Irving, TX



Kathryn D. Sullivan

Recently appointed as Lindbergh Fellow of Aerospace History, Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, , she served as Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans & Atmosphere and NOAA Administrator between 2011 and 2017. She was a director for Ohio State University's Battelle Center for Mathematics & Science Education Policy, was president and CEO of the Center of Science & Industry (COSI), and between 1978 and 1993, was a Mission Specialist for NASA. She is a veteran of three Shuttle missions with over 500 hours in space and is the first American woman to walk in space.

2017 Second Quarter: Added to: International Paper Co. - Memphis, TN


Gregory Q. Brown

He joined Motorola in 2003 and since 2011 has been chairman and CEO. Under his leadership, he has completely transformed the 90-year old company, spinning off the cellular phone business, divesting two other multi-billion dollar non-strategic divisions and a $1B acquisition of the second largest public safety system in the world. He is chairman of the Rutgers University Board of Governors, chair of Skills for Chicagoland's Future and chair of the committee on Immigration Reform of the Business Roundtable.

2017 Second Quarter: Added to: Xerox Corp. - Norwalk, CT


Charles "Chuck" Robbins

As CEO and director of Cisco Systems Inc, he leads an Executive Leadership Team focused on Cisco's vision to change the way the world works, lives, plays and learns. In over 18 years at Cisco, he was SVP of Worldwide Field Operations, SVP of The Americas, SVP of U.S. Enterprise, Commercial and Canada, and SVP of U.S. Commercial Sales. He serves as chairman of the U.S.-Japan Business Council, and chair of the IT Governors Steering Committee for the World Economic Forum. 

2017 Third Quarter: Added to: BlackRock Inc. - New York, NY


Sona Chawla

COO of Kohls Corporation since 2015, she was president of Digital and chief marketing officer at Walgreens from 2014 to 2015. Previously, she was Walgreen's president of E-commerce, and held executive positions with Dell Inc. and Wells Fargo's Internet Services Group

2017 Third Quarter: Added to: CarMax Inc. - Richmond, VA



Rayford Wilkins

During his more than 30-year career at AT&T, he served as chairman and president of AT&T International Inc., was CEO of Diversified Businesses of AT&T, responsible for international investments, AT&T Interactive, AT&T Advertising Solutions, customer information services and the consumer wireless initiative in India.

2017 Third Quarter:  Added to: Caterpillar Inc. - Peoria, IL


Gov. Jack A. Markell

Markell served from 2009 to 2017 as the Governor of Delaware, leading a $4 billion enterprise with 30,000 employees. He previously served as state treasurer. Before entering politics, he was VP for corporate development at Nextel, and held executive leadership roles with First Chicago Corp., McKinsey & Co., and Comcast Corp.

2017 Third Quarter: Added to: Graham Holdings Co. - Arlington, VA


Senator Kelly Ayotte

Ayotte served as United States Senator for New Hampshire from 2011 to 2017. Prior to her Senate election, she was chief of New Hampshire's Homicide Unit and Deputy Attorney General before being named the State's first female Attorney General, serving from 2004 until 2009.

2017 Fourth Quarter: Added to: Caterpillar Inc. - Peoria, IL 

2017 First Quarter: Added to: News Corp. - New York, NY

Wilbert W. James

President of Toyota Motor Manufacturing Kentucky Inc., the largest automotive manufacturing plant in the world, he serves on the boards of Central Bank & Trust Co. and the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. He is also a trustee of the National Urban League and a member of the Executive Leadership Council. 2017 Fourth Quarter: Added to: Atkore International Group Inc. - Harvey, IL



Caroline B. Kennedy

She is an attorney, writer, editor, and diplomat who served as the United States Ambassador to Japan from 2013 to 2017. She has served on the boards of numerous non-profit organizations, co-written two books on civil liberties, and edited numerous New York Times best-selling volumes. She is the daughter of the late President John F. Kennedy.

2017 Fourth Quarter: Added to: Boeing Co. - Chicago, IL



Susan Somersille Johnson

Since 2014, she is corporate EVP and CMO of Sun Trust Banks Inc. She previously led global marketing for NCR Corp. and held executive positions at Nokia, Nuance Communications, Fujitsu, and Apple Inc. In 2017, Johnson was named one of the "50 Most Powerful Women in Corporate America" by Black Enterprise Magazine.

2017 Fourth Quarter: Added to: Constellation Brands Inc. - Victor, NY



Diana Farrell

Farrell is the founding president and CEO of JP Morgan Chase Institute, a global think tank. Previously, she held a variety of roles at McKinsey & Co. Inc., including director and global head of the McKinsey Center for Government, and partner and leader of the Global Financial Institutions and Strategies Practices. She also served as the Deputy Director of the National Economic Council and Deputy Assistant to the President on Economic Policy from 2009-2011.

2017 Fourth Quarter: Added to: eBay Inc. - San Jose, CA


John L. Stallworth

Stallworth is a partner of Genesis II, a family investment and philanthropic partnership, and the chairman of the John Stallworth Foundation, a private foundation created in 1980 to provide college scholarships to students attending college in the state of Alabama. From 1986 to 2006, he was president and CEO of Madison Research Corp., an engineering and technology contractor for the defense industry. Stallworth played football for the Pittsburgh Steelers for 14 seasons. In 2002, he was inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame and a partial owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers since 2009.

2017 Fourth Quarter: Added to: Synovus Financial Corp. - Columbus, GA


Liza McFadden

President & CEO of the Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy since 2012, she has led its successful transition from a donor-advised fund to a public charity. She is a former high school teacher, Florida Department of Education administrator, and served in Governor Jeb Bush's administration spearheading efforts to encourage mentors to support public school children.

2017 Fourth Quarter: Added to: K12 Inc. - Herndon, VA


Mary T. Barra

Currently CEO of General Motors, she has held a number of positions including GMs human resources worldwide, plant manager, executive director of competitive operations engineering, and general director of internal communications for GM North America.

2017 Fourth Quarter: Added to: Walt Disney Co. - Burbank, CA



Debra A. Cafaro

Chairman & CEO of Ventas Inc, in 2016, Cafaro was named one of the “World's 100 Most Powerful Women” by Forbes, and a “Top 50 Best-Performing CEOs in the World” for the third consecutive year by Harvard Business Review. She is an owner and member of the Management Committee of the NHL Pittsburgh Penguins.

2017 Fourth Quarter: Added to: PNC Financial Services Group Inc. - Pittsburgh, PA



Robert O. Work

Distinguished Sr. Fellow, Center for a New American Security (CNAS), he served as U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense from 2014 through mid-2017, and Undersecretary of the Navy. Work served 27 years in the U.S. Marine Corps, ulimately retiring as a colonel.

2017 Fourth Quarter: Added to: Raytheon Co. - Waltham, MA



James R.J. Murdoch

Before becoming CEO of 21st Century and chairman of Sky plc in 2015, Murdoch held leadership roles at the company including co-chief operating officer, chairman and CEO for Europe and Asia, as well as chairman of BSkyB, Sky Deutschland, and Sky Italia, the businesses that now make up Sky plc.

2017 Fourth Quarter: Added to: Tesla Inc. - Palo Alto, CA