Betsy Atkins

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Betsy Atkins

Betsy Atkins is an American business executive and entrepreneur. She was an early investor in Yahoo and eBay in association with the venture capital firm, Baja LLC.[1] She was the Former Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Clear Standards, Inc, a leading provider of SaaS Software enterprise carbon management and sustainability solutions. In 2010, Clear Standards was acquired by SAP. In addition she is President and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Baja Corp, a venture capital investment firm, which she founded in 1993. Atkins is on the Board of Directors of Wynn Resorts, SL Green Realty Corp, Docker, Schneider Electric and Volvo Car Corporation. She previously served as Chairman of the SAP AG Advisory Board and was a member of the ZocDoc Advisory Board. She was a member of the NASDAQ LLC Exchange Board of Directors and is a member of Florida International University's Health Care Network Board of Directors. Atkins is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.[2] Atkins frequently appears on CNBC,[3] Bloomberg, and Yahoo Finance[4] as a Corporate Governance commentator.

Early life[edit]

Atkins was born in the suburbs of Boston and went to a public high school. She attended University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her early career was in the industrial automation and semi-conductor industry at General Electric. Atkins often credits her mother for encouraging her throughout her career to aspire to do great things and always be committed to giving back and helping others on their career paths and life journeys.


Atkins co-founded Interlan, an ethernet network controller card systems company. The company was acquired by Micom Systems in 1985. In 1988 Atkins became the CEO of Key Computer Labs, selling the company to Amdahl Corporation.

In 1989, she co-founded Ascend Communications and served as a Board member and their Global CRO and EVP Marketing and Services. Ascend was acquired by Lucent in 1999. Atkins joined the Lucent board in 2000.

Atkins became the CEO of NCI, Inc. a neutraceutical functional food company, building the company until it was acquired by Artal Luxembourg in 1993.

Atkins recent focus has been in Corporate Governance where she has served as an Expert Witness on the Adelphia bankruptcy case in 2003 and as Chairman of the Special Litigation Committee at HealthSouth Corporation.

Board Work[edit]

Atkins has served on more than 27 public boards and various private boards and a significant number of private equity and venture backed boards in various industries including Financial Services, Technology, Pharma, Hospitality, CPG, Automotive, Logistics, Retail and Manufacturing. Atkins has been through 13 IPOs and has directorship experiences in America, Canada, France, China, and Sweden. According to a Harvard study, Atkins has served on the second most public boards of any woman.


Atkins released her first book, Behind Boardroom Doors: Lessons of a Corporate Director in 2013. The book offers candid and practical advice for those who serve on the boards of global, complex enterprises.

In 2017 Atkins released an updated version of the book to include new material about cyber-security and digitization. The book launched in Miami and New York and was featured on the Nasdaq Marketsite Tower in Times Square.


  • "This book is a treasure. The ultimate mystery for students, regulators, consultants, lawyers, economists – and even putative and serving members – is what goes on in the Board of Directors. Those who try to rate boards are stymied because all they have access to is public information. Betsy Atkins’ book is what we all have been looking for. It is a compilation of perspectives from the inside by a really engaging narrator and professional director. I have never had such a good insight into what directors ought to do – and, truth be told, I was a director of at least a dozen publicly companies – and the great value they can impart to an enterprise. This is a treat." -Robert A.G. Monks, founder of Institutional Shareholder Services
    Nasdaq Marketsite in Times Square
  • "As lead independent director, Betsy Atkins was responsible for integrating seven new, French board members into our SunPower board. Under her leadership, the new directors came to understand American board oversight, as well as the right level of engagement for them to be contributors and to represent all stakeholders. Readers of Betsy’s book will be treated to those same leadership lessons. A fine distillation of her writings, Behind Boardroom Doors represents the culmination of Betsy’s many years of experience as a director, committee chair, and industry leader." -Tom Werner, President and CEO, SunPower
  • "There is a big difference between the perception and the reality of serving on a public company board. Many investors and outsiders, including prospective first-time board members and board members of small or private companies, might skeptically view board service as nothing more than attending a couple of meetings a year in return for a hefty check. The reality of effective board service is that that it is a lot of work. Yet, successful boards are also careful not to micro-manage company management teams. This book is a primer on how to achieve the right balance and how to be effective. Having served on a board with Betsy, I can attest that she brought a wealth of relevant experience to the role which she has captured in this book. Reading it felt like sitting next to Betsy and benefiting from her “war” stories, learning important lessons from a long career of both executive leadership and board service." -Bill Lenehan, CEO of Four Corner’s Property Trust

TV Appearances[edit]

Atkins has appeared on CNBC, Bloomberg and Yahoo Finance as a Corporate Governance expert commentator.

Atkins has commentated on the role of the CBS board and its special committee review of Les Moonves.

In 2018 Atkins commented on the various issues surrounding Tesla and Facebook.


Atkins is a regular Forbes contributor. Her area of focus includes corporate governance & business trends.

Other Work and Ventures[edit]

Atkins is an active proponent of women leadership in corporate settings. Atkins mentors women individually and especially on the boards where she serves. In 2018 she hosted a Women in Leadership luncheon at Volvo HQ in Sweden.

Betsy Atkins speaking at the Nasdaq: Advancing Women Leaders event in 2018.

Atkins joined the Wynn Resorts board of directors in 2018 and participated in the inaugural launch event of the Wynn Resorts Women’s Leadership Forum.

Women Inc. Magazine named Betsy Atkins a 2018 Most Influential Corporate Director.

In 2018 Atkins was a featured speaker at the CEO2CEO Summit in NYC.  

Atkins was a panelist speaker at the 2018 Nasdaq Advancing Women Leaders in the Boardroom conference which aims to help women transition from the C-Suite into the Boardroom.

In 2018 Atkins participated in the podcast "Women Killing It!" with Sally Hubbard where Atkins shared advice and learnings to help women achieve personal and professional success.  

In 2017 Atkins was a panelist speaker at the G100 Conference: Next Generation Leadership.

Atkins articles have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Financial Times, and CNBC.

All articles, books, and internet or television appearances can be accessed on her website:


Atkins received a bachelor's degree in Liberal Arts from the University of Massachusetts Amherst, magna cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa.

Beach access[edit]

Betsy Atkins, President of Gables Real Estate, LLC is allowing Harpswell residents to continue to use Cedar Beach Road after it was deemed private by the Maine Law Court.

Previously, a Maine lower court had granted a prescriptive easement to town residents to access a private road in order to gain beach access. On July 19, 2016, the Maine Law Court vacated the lower courts decision to grant a prescriptive easement across Cedar Beach Road. As a result, there is no longer a prescriptive easement across Cedar Beach Road to Cedar Beach. It is now wholly private and its use may be determined by the owner, Gables Real Estate, LLC.

Both Atkins and the town have worked together to protect the beach, and also Gables Real Estate's legal property rights. An article was published in the Bangor Daily News by Beth Brogan on July 20, 2016, discussing the access that Atkins has given the townspeople.[5]

Prior board of directors[edit]

2017 - 2018: Atkins served on the Board of Directors of Cognizant

  • Member of the Finance Committee.

2013 - 2018: Atkins served on the Board of Directors of HD Supply

  • Lead Independent Director.
  • Chair of the Governance Committee.

1999 - 2016: Atkins served on the Board of Directors of Polycom

  • Lead Independent Director.
  • Chair of the Compensation Committee..

2014 - 2015: Atkins served on the Board of Directors of Darden Restaurants, an American multi-brand restaurant operator.

  • Member of the Governance Committee.

2013 - 2014: Atkins served on the Board of Directors of a freemium based website creation business in Israel.

  • Member of the Compensation Committee.

2005 - 2012: Atkins served on the Board of SunPower Corporation

  • Lead Independent Director.
  • Chair of the Compensation Committee.

2004 - 2013: Atkins served on the Board of Chico's

  • Chair of the Governance Committee.

2004 - 2010: Atkins served on the Board of Reynolds American, Inc.

2002 - 2008: Atkins served on the Board of Directors of UTStarcom, developer of wireless infrastructure and cellular hand sets selling to China and developing countries.

  • Member of the Governance Committee.

2005 - 2006: Atkins served on the Board of Directors of Vonage a VoIP telephony provider based in Holmdel, New Jersey.

  • Member of the Governance Committee.

2001 - 2004: Atkins served on the Board of Directors of Paychex a national provider of payroll, human resource and benefits services.

2001 - 2003: Atkins served on the Board of Secure Computing.

2000 - 2002: Atkins served on the Board of Lucent Technologies.

External links[edit]

  1. ^
  2. ^
  3. ^ "CNBC Squawk on the Street / Facebook needs to re-focus on its users". Betsy S. Atkins. 2018-11-19. Retrieved 2019-01-07.
  4. ^ "Betsy Atkins, Corporate Board Director". Retrieved 2019-01-07.
  5. ^