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University News

Simmons joins corporate boards post-presidency

By
Staff Writer
Friday, November 2, 2012

Since announcing her resignation, former president Ruth Simmons has joined the corporate boards of Chrysler Group and Mondelez International.

Mondelez, which spun off from Kraft Foods effective Oct. 1, includes brands like Oreo, Nabisco and other snack lines. 

 “All of these directors are committed to strong corporate governance and bring a terrific mix of leadership skills and business experiences to drive the long-term success of both companies,” said Chief Executive Irene Rosenfeld in Kraft Foods’ press release detailing the composition of the new company’s board. 

Simmons is one of three members on Mondelez’s nine-person board of directors without any prior involvement in Kraft.

Simmons joined the Chrysler board as an independent director in June. She and Erickson Perkins, director of the United Auto Workers strategic research department, were appointed concurrently to replace former Michigan Gov. James Blanchard on the board.

Corporation Chancellor Tom Tisch  ’76 said the corporations are “very lucky to have Ruth as a member of the board given the combination of her experience and great judgment in a vast number of situations.”

Stephen Nelson, higher education expert and senior scholar in the Leadership Alliance, said that though Simmons is no longer the official president of the University, people who have been in such prominent positions continue to “wear the mantle of their university.”

Nelson added that the most obvious benefit to Simmons from joining these boards is the substantial salary most directors receive. He also suggested that Simmons’ connections with corporate elites could be of service to Brown. 

For example, Simmons could tap into her colleague network to solicit donations to the University when President Christina Paxson’s new capital campaign is initiated, he said.

Simmons was also named to Princeton’s Board of Trustees in June. 

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  1. Tisch should resign from his roles and give them to Simmons. But then there will be no change noticeable either.

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