Chair, Elected: 2019
Elected to the Board: 2013
Kathleen A. Walters is a retired senior executive with extensive operating experience in the consumer products and paper industry, both domestically and internationally. Most recently, she was executive vice president and group president of Georgia-Pacific, leading the consumer products group. Georgia Pacific contains the largest retail and commercial tissue and tabletop businesses in North America, spanning more than 20 manufacturing locations and 15,000 employees.
Prior to her association with Georgia-Pacific, Walters held a number of key leadership positions in Europe and the United States at Kimberly-Clark Corp. and Scott Paper Co. and was chief executive officer of SAPPI Fine Paper North America.
Known for her ability to develop business strategies, Walters has a proven record of leading business groups in various situations, companies and geographies to improved earnings—from growth through innovation, revenue improvement and cost-efficiency strategies. She is adept at aligning large organizations with a vision for business, while understanding operational details that help individual units execute on strategic initiatives.
Walters' functional management experience includes marketing, sales, logistics, financial analysis, treasury, investor relations and community relations. Her career experiences include profit and loss accountability in North America and Europe as well as sales and trading management in Asia.
Walters serves on the Board of Directors of Jabil (NYSE:JBL), Georgia Aquarium and the World Affairs Council of Atlanta and is a former management advisor to the Board of Directors of Sappi Limited (NYSE:SPP).
She earned a bachelor’s degree in mathematics from Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences in 1973 and an M.B.A. in finance and strategic planning, with distinction, from The Wharton School of The University of Pennsylvania in 1978.
Walters is Chair of the Board through early May 2023. In this capacity, she chairs the Board Executive Committee and Board Organization and Nominating Committee and serves, ex officio, on all standing committees. Walters also serves on the National Campaign Council Executive Committee; the Advisory Special Committee; the Special Committee on University Climate, Diversity and Inclusion and the Free Speech Trustee Advisory Group. She served as Vice Chair of the Board from 2018-19; Chair of the Ad Hoc Workgroup on Volunteer Boards; and on the Steam Station, Annual Giving, Strategic Enrollment Planning, and Academic Planning Ad Hoc Workgroups. In 2017 she received the Dritz Rookie Trustee of the Year Award for outstanding Board service. Her Syracuse University service includes memberships on the Atlanta Regional Council and the University Libraries Advisory Board. She served on the search committee for the Senior Vice President of Communications and Marketing in 2017.
She and her husband, Stanley P. Walters ’72 (College of Arts and Sciences), have provided lead gifts for the establishment of the Maxwell X Lab Support Fund and the Kathy ’73 and Stan ’72 Walters Endowed Fund for Science Research at the College of Arts and Sciences. They also support a wide range of University priorities, including the Barnes Center at The Arch, where they have funded the Kathy ’73 and Stan ’72 Walters Pet Therapy Room. They have generously supported other initiatives in the College of Arts and Sciences, the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University Athletics and Libraries, and alumni relations.
Updated: December 15, 2020