Owner and chairwoman, Lakeside AS; Executive Board Member, Norges Bank
I love being able to work through a board position to develop strategies, work on critical issues, and create value.
Kathryn Baker is a true expert on boards of directors. She has served on more than 20 of them over the last 16 years, ranging from oil and gas companies to Norway’s Central Bank to Tuck’s own European Advisory Board.
How did you transition from private equity to your current role?
As I approached my 50th birthday, I decided I wanted to be doing something else. I wanted more independence, flexibility, and a change of scenery. I had started to do some angel investing on the side for fun, and I put out some feelers about new board positions. I negotiated with my partners to sell my share of Reiten and I set about building up a portfolio of board roles outside my private equity setting. Now I sit on the boards of the Central Bank of Norway [Norges Bank], as well as five listed companies, serving as chairman on two of them.
What is your role at Norges Bank?
The role of the central bank is to promote economic stability in the country through monetary policy, including interest rates, and to ensure robust payment systems. We also oversee the Norwegian Global Pension Fund—the oil fund—which is the largest sovereign wealth fund in the world at almost $900 billion. It’s the people’s money, and we are mandated by the Department of Finance to grow and protect the wealth for current and future generations. We have an interest rate meeting coming up, and in these times of low-to-negative interest rates—Norway is currently at 0.5 percent, which is unprecedented—you really feel the weight of your decisions. I spend a lot of time staying current on macroeconomic and central banking issues.
What do you enjoy about being on boards?
I love being able to work through a board position to develop strategies, work on critical issues, and create value. I also love a challenge, whether it’s positive, like working with a fast growing company, or more difficult, like a debt restructuring. It’s a fun and a heavy role at the same time. You’re not the one pouring over spreadsheets at 2 a.m., but you sit clearly with a responsibility for the decisions that are made. There are downsides to it, of course. This being Norway, I don’t need medical benefits, but I have no job security or extra retirement benefits whatsoever. It could all vanish overnight. It’s based on reputation—period. Norway is a small country of only 5 million people, and I think I’m the only person named Kathryn Baker here. It’s a small pond. Everything gets noticed and often written about in the media, for better or worse.
Having served on so many different boards, what have you learned about their role and what makes them successful?
It is extremely important to get the right balance of people who work well together and complement each other’s strengths. You absolutely have to have a good chair, or the damage can be immense. The chair sets the tone and creates the atmosphere of openness. His or her job is not to have all the opinions, but to make sure the best of every person on the board and in the administration is being brought forward. A good working relationship between the chair and the CEO is also critical. In Norway, we don’t allow the CEO to also be the chair; it’s considered bad governance.
As of 2008, Norwegian law has dictated that boards of publicly-traded companies must have at least 40 percent women. How has that played out?
Norway is a special and groundbreaking country when it comes to equality. There is a strong focus on having a good balance of men and women in leading business roles, and the boardroom has been a priority. I was very against the 40 percent law for listed companies when it first passed in 2006. I believe it’s the shareholders’ right to choose their representatives, but what the law has done is to ensure that women are, in fact, nominated and able to be chosen. At the end of the day it’s been a positive thing. Sweden, where I sit on a few boards, doesn’t have this rule. A lot of countries thought, “What on earth?” But they now are looking at Norway quite closely. There certainly has been no damage done and it has brought fresh perspectives into boardrooms. We’ve yet to see gender parity trickle down to C level, but things are changing. There has been a different attitude about who your pool of candidates is. I sit on a couple boards now where women make up a majority.
Why We Need More Women Entrepreneurs—And Investors
A conversation with venture capitalist Elizabeth Davis T’20, an investor with the Anthemis Group’s Female Innovators Lab.Read More
Not a Map—More of a Compass: Meet David Grain T’89
David Grain T’89, founder and CEO of Grain Management, talks his career journey and what drives him during a fireside chat with Dean Matthew Slaughter, titled “Minority Participation in Private Equity.”Read More
Meet Tuck Alumnus Jose Minaya T’00, CEO of Nuveen
A commitment to building diverse, inclusive, and equitable structures across organizations is personal for Jose Minaya T’00, who was named CEO of Nuveen in 2020.Read More
How to Build Your Personal Leadership Style
Successful leaders develop their own authentic and personal leadership style, says long-time PetSmart CEO David Lenhardt T’96.Read More
Meet Tuck Alumnus Richard Noyes of Bartlett Associates
Meet Tuck Alumnus Richard Noyes of Bartlett AssociatesRead More
Noreen Doyle T’74, chair of the Newmont Mining Corporation, was the first woman to chair the British Banker’s Association in its 96-year history.Read More
Preserving Culture Through Banking: Meet Dawson Her Many Horses T’10
Dawson Her Many Horses T’10, SVP & Native American business leader at Wells Fargo, helps Native American tribes protect their way of life.Read More
Tuck Alumnus Named Head of Goldman Sachs’ Global Securities
At Goldman Sachs’ Global Securities Division, Tuck Alumnus Jim Esposito orchestrates a global operation managing risk for asset managers, pension funds, insurance companies, hedge funds, corporations, and governments.Read More
Michaela LeBlanc Weber
Several times a month, Michaela (LeBlanc) Weber T’15 trades in her business suit for a bright orange jumpsuit, hard hat, and steel-toed boots.Read More
Bringing Order to the Chaos
Solving complex problems is what's kept Diego Ferro T'93 in finance for 25 years. Here's what he's learned.Read More
T’98 Rick Cardenas’ first job was bussing tables at a Red Lobster. Fast forward 25 years and he’s now CFO of Darden Restaurants which, until 2014, owned Red Lobster.Read More
Fun Finance: Lindsey Drake T’11 talks about her role as a senior finance manager at Amazon Books.Read More
Charles F. Preusse II
A partner at Ridgeway Partners, Charles Preusse, II T’95 is a matchmaker of strategic talent.Read More
After guiding National City Corp through the financial crisis, Peter Raskind D’78, T’79 found civic engagement in confronting two of Cleveland's public crises—for the sum total of $2.Read More
Christoph Böhmer T’96 is helping lead a 500-strong volunteer effort to resettle Afghan, Iranian, and Syrian refugees in Germany.Read More
Lauren Krostue T’10 tried working in other industries, but something about the hospitality world kept drawing her back.Read More
How to Promote Diversity and Nurture Talent
After Tuck, Suzanne Schaefer T’02 went into management consulting, figuring that eventually she might connect with a particular industry—to her surprise, she instead felt a strong pull toward recruiting and talent development.Read More
James “Jim” Lindstrom
Jim Lindstrom T’01 has a career of both investment and senior operational roles—a unique perspective to lead a multinational corporation in today’s dynamic environment.Read More
At Tuck, Jayne Hrdlicka T'88 learned to think deeply and challenge convention—skills she drew on as CEO of the Jetstar Group of airlines.Read More
As managing director of the Boston Forum of Golden Seeds, a national network of angel investors funding early-stage companies led by women, Deb Kemper T'95 lives by the motto: be the change you want to see in the world.Read More
Shawna Huffman Owen
If you think the Web made travel agents obsolete, Shawna Huffman Owen T’98 has news for you.Read More
The Chinese economy has grown tremendously since 1989, and so have the opportunities for enterprising Tuck graduates, like Jie Lian T'01.Read More
Over twenty years ago, Carolyn McGuire T’83 helped form Community Consulting Teams of Boston. It’s still going strong today—and facilitating a lot of good work.Read More
T'98 Victoria Levy’s post-Tuck career took off with The Monitor Group, an iconic strategic consulting firm where she became a partner by age 33. Now, the firm has been acquired by Deloitte and Levy is guiding the integration of the two practices.Read More
Not many people in ball bearing sales finish their careers in venture capital. For Mike Carusi T’93, now one of the most successful health care investors in Silicon Valley, that unlikely journey started with two eye-opening years at Tuck.Read More
Williams College chief investment officer Collette Chilton T’86 is helping deliver big returns for the Little Ivy.Read More
Bill Achtmeyer T’81 has worked with hundreds of senior executives at Fortune 500 companies and shares five pieces of advice for managing a large organization effectively.Read More
Fluent in four languages and passionate about entrepreneurship, Michelle Mooradian D’95, T’04 went from her post-Tuck consulting job at Opera Solutions to spend almost five years working for McKinsey’s Rio de Janeiro office.Read More
Investor. Philanthropist. Entrepreneur. Roger McNamee T’82 is all of these and more in a career that has taken him to the top of the tech world.Read More
Alain Karaoglan T’87 never could have predicted he would one day be chief operating officer of Voya Financial, a top-tier retirement plan provider with more than $500 billion in assets under management and administration.Read More
Tips for Transforming Your Career
After positions of increasing seniority at Morgan Stanley, McKinsey, and JPMorgan, Kate Grussing T’91 decided she wanted to transform her career by helping others transform theirs.Read More
Navigating the present while honoring the past is a challenge for many Native people. Debbie Atuk T’04 has found a way to do both.Read More
After working in security sales for Goldman Sachs, Christopher Fox T'81 was drawn back to the public sector because he wanted to serve his community and for the intellectual challenge.Read More
At Tuck, Vicki Craver T'97 discovered a latent interest in financial strategy. Now, after a successful career at Goldman Sachs and raising a family, she applies her financial accumen to vetting nonprofit projects.Read More
Amy Feind Reeves
A consultant turned job coach, Amy Reeves T'92, was able to research, model, and project the successful future of her business using the skills she acquired at Tuck.Read More
Following five years in the mergers and acquisitions industry, Scott Frantz T'86 joined a few close friends in putting together a private equity and venture capital business.Read More
Sword, Rowe & Company CEO Daniel Rowe T’09 is blending his love of music into a successful career with the boutique merchant bank.Read More
In much of the Middle East and North Africa, cash is still king. PayPal’s Francis Barel T’05 wants to change that, and open people’s lives to the world along the way.Read More
One of Blair LaCorte T’90’s great skills as a leader is not only to guide a company from infancy to success, but to know when to set it—and himself—free.Read More
A new book on design strategy by Deepa Prahalad T'00, daughter of management guru C.K. Prahalad, was rated by Fast Company as one of the 13 best design books of the year.Read More
Christopher Williams T'84 harnessed his architectural and business skills to grow the Williams Capital Group into one of the most successful mid-sized investment banks in the world.Read More