New GC Fortifies W.K. Kellogg Foundation
The W.K. Kellogg Foundation has scooped up former Thunderbird School of Global Management attorney Kathryn Krecke to serve as its new top lawyer. On March 4 Krecke replaced general counsel Susan Katz Froning, who left the foundation to become a consultant for nonprofits.
When corn flakes king Will Keith Kellogg established the foundation and its trust in 1930, he told trustees to use the money as they pleased, so long as it promotes the health, happiness, and well-being of children. Today the Kellogg Foundation is among the largest philanthropic grant-making foundations in the United States.
As general counsel, corporate secretary, and an officer of the Battle Creek, Michigan-based foundation, Krecke will be responsible for all legal and compliance matters.
The Michigan native will lead a three-person legal department at the Kellogg Foundation. Were a small but mighty team, she says.
After graduating from the University of Michigan School of Law, Krecke joined Mariscal, Weeks, McIntyre & Friedlander in Phoenix. She says she was fortunate to take on a variety of matterscomplex litigation, transactional work, bankruptcy, and real estate. It was great experience, she says. But ultimately I felt like an in-house practice was where I really wanted to be.
Krecke cut her in-house teeth in the law department of ConocoPhillips Company. Ive been really lucky in my career, she says. At ConocoPhillips, I was exposed to what was really a top-notch in-house law department. She worked in litigation management, risk management, human resources, and also did some transactional work for the company.
In 2004 Krecke was asked to transfer from her office in Arizona and relocate to Houston. But her kids were still in school at the time and she opted to accept a severance package. I did what some people might calland did callpossible career suicide, she recalls. She became a stay-at-home mom briefly before opening a mediation practice.
Krecke enjoyed the work, but when a friend introduced her to Thunderbird in 2005, she says it was an opportunity too good to pass up. Krecke joined the school of international business as its first general counsel. During her eight years with Thunderbird, she took on responsibility for human resources and was also named corporate secretary and VP. It was my first deep dive into nonprofits and also into governance, she says.
Now at the Kellogg Foundation, the new GC has been spending her early days assessing what everyone around her brings to the table. What Ive really been focusing on since I got here is listening, says Krecke. Shes been meeting with her legal team, other peers in the organization, and the foundations trustees. She says her success in the organization will depend on understanding its culture. Nobody does this alone, she says. Its a team effort, and Im looking forward to seeing how our team contributes.