Keith J. Krach
Keith J. Krach
|Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment|
|Assumed office |
June 21, 2019
|Preceded by||Catherine A. Novelli|
|Born||April 1, 1957|
|Residence||San Francisco, California|
|Education||Purdue University, West Lafayette (BS)|
Harvard University (MBA)
Keith J. Krach (born April 1, 1957) is an American businessman, entrepreneur, diplomat, and philanthropist. He is the former chairman and CEO of DocuSign. Krach co-founded Ariba, serving as chairman and CEO, and is recognized for his work in B2B Commerce and Digital Transaction Management. Krach served as chairman of the board of Angie’s List. Krach was the youngest-ever Vice President of General Motors. He served as Chairman of the board of Trustees for Purdue University.
On January 18, 2019, President Donald Trump, upon recommendation of Secretary Pompeo, nominated Krach to be Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment. On March 23, 2019, Krach appeared before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to outline his positions on economic development, the environment, energy policy and his strategy on economic statecraft, after introductions by Senator Portman of Ohio and Senator Young, of Indiana. On April 3, 2019, Krach’s nomination received the unanimous endorsement of the Committee. On June 20, 2019, he was confirmed by unanimous voice vote by the Senate.
Early life and education
Krach was born in Lakewood, Ohio, to Elda and John Krach, and was raised in the small town of Rocky River, Ohio. Krach says that his first and most important mentors were his parents. Krach’s father was “the best leader I’ve ever known in my life. He certainly modeled one heck of a work ethic,” said Krach in a 2017 interview.
At the age of 12, Krach worked as a welder in his father’s machine shop, Litco Industries, which at the time only had five employees. This experience inspired him to pursue a B.S. in industrial engineering from Purdue University. During his sophomore year (1979), Krach received one of two General Motors scholarships awarded to Purdue engineering students. The scholarship paid for tuition, books, a living stipend, summer jobs with the automaker, and a full-time position with the company in Detroit following graduation. Another pivotal moment for Krach was his decision to join the Sigma Chi Fraternity while an undergrad at Purdue. Krach credits Sigma Chi with teaching him many of the leadership and personal skills that have contributed to his success.
After graduating from Purdue (1979), Krach received a fellowship which also included half salary from General Motors to study for an M.B.A. from Harvard University Business School. Upon completion of his master's degree (1981), he joined GM full-time.
Krach has worked in the fields of robotics, engineering software, e-commerce, education, e-signature and digital transaction management. Each of the four companies he built became the market leader and generated shareholder value.
GM and other ventures
Krach began his career at General Motors where he worked at GM's Cadillac Division and Technical Center in Detroit, Michigan and the New York Treasurer’s Office under Rick Wagoner. He was named GM's youngest-ever vice president, at 26, in 1984. He was one of the founders of GMF Robotics, a joint venture between GM and Fanuc Robotics, which became the largest provider of industrial robots in the world.
Krach left GM and took a job at startup software company Qronos. He joined Qronos as its number 2 executive in 1987 but left after nine months over what he called a conflict over values with the CEO.
In 1988 Krach became a member of the founding team of Rasna Corporation, a mechanical engineering design software company that was sold to PTC for $500 million in 1995. In 1996, Krach was the first entrepreneur in residence at Benchmark Capital, and in 2008, he became a Benchmark CEO in residence.
From 1996 to 2003, Krach served as co-founder, chairman, and CEO of business-to-business e-commerce company Ariba. In 1999, Krach took Ariba public on Nasdaq, with an initial valuation of $6 billion, which grew to $40 billion by 2000, making it one of the first internet software companies to go public.
In 2009, Krach became the chairman and in 2011 the CEO of DocuSign, a technology company which provides electronic signature and digital transaction management solutions. As CEO, Krach led the creation of the Digital Transaction Management category and the building of the DocuSign Global Trust Network which comprises more than 320,000 companies and 400 million users in 188 countries.
He led successful efforts to secure strategic investments and support from major companies such as SAP, Google, Salesforce, Visa, Dell, Intel, Samsung, NTT, Mitsui, Telstra, Comcast, FedEx, Deutsche Telekom, and the nation of Singapore.
DocuSign filed for its IPO in April, 2018. As of that date, Krach was the largest individual shareholder unaffiliated with a venture firm.
In an interview with Inside Philanthropy, Krach signaled his intention to focus more on philanthropy upon stepping down as DocuSign chairman. He stated, "I think we’re at a place in life where it’s really time to give back and pay it forward." 
Board memberships and other roles
Additionally, Krach served as board chairman of Angie’s List from 2011 to 2014. The company went public in 2011.
Krach has taken on recent initiatives to accelerate “digital transformations” on a national and global front. In 2017, he was named to the NYCx Technology Leadership Advisory Council, a diverse group of technology and community leaders selected by New York City’s Mayor, Bill de Blasio.
Krach is the founder of the Virtual Mentor Network. The organization connects young people with industry leaders through a video-based platform piloted in 2018 with retired four-star General Stanley McChrystal, Former NASA Administrator Dan Goldin, City Year Founder Michael Brown, and former Deutsche Bank COO Kim Hammonds.
Awards and recognition
In 1998, Krach was named a top 10 entrepreneur of the year by Red Herring Magazine. In 2000, he received the Technology Pioneer award at the World Economic Forum, in Davos, Switzerland. That same year, he was recognized as one of the top 10 tech execs by Forbes. In 2000 and again in 2015, Krach was named National Entrepreneur of the Year by Ernst & Young. Krach earned the Distinguished Engineer Alumni award from Purdue University in 2006, and in 2012 received the Alumni Achievement award from the National College Senior Honor Society. In 2014, Business Insider recognized him as one of the 50 most powerful people in enterprise tech, and the following year, the San Francisco Business Times recognized him as the most admired CEO. Krach was also awarded a Dell Founder 50 award in 2015. In 2018, Krach received the Life & News 2018 Transformational Leader of the Year award and in 2019 Harvard Business School’s 2019 Business Leader of the Year award.
In October 2018, City Year San Jose/Silicon Valley honored Keith and Metta Krach with the City Year Citizen Leadership Award for their service to the Bay Area community and to the organization. The Krach family has given back to the organization through grants, product contributions, and event participation to support shared interest in education, mentorship, and leadership, and this recognition was the first time the organization has honored a couple with the award.
In 2005, Sigma Chi Fraternity named Krach its 64th international president. He served through 2007. The fraternity also awarded him the 1979 International Balfour Award, which is given to the outstanding graduating senior fraternity-wide.
Upon his election as the 64th Grand Consul, Krach unveiled the 150th anniversary strategic plan that pivoted the vision of the 350,000-member association to become the preeminent collegiate leadership development organization, with the sole mission of the development of values-based leaders, committed to the betterment of character, campus and community.
During his six-year term as Chairman of the Sigma Chi Leadership Training Board, he led the development and launch of Horizons Leadership Summit in Snowbird, Utah and secured funding from the L.G. Balfour Foundation to endow Leadership Training Workshop in 1997.
Krach has been honored with Sigma Chi’s Significant Sig Award, and the Order of Constantine Award.
Krach was appointed to the Purdue board of trustees in 2007 and served as board chairman from 2009 to 2013. In 2012, he recruited Mitch Daniels, the sitting governor of Indiana, to be the 12th president of the university. During Krach's tenure, Purdue froze tuition and saw record research funding and philanthropic giving of more than $1 billion.
Krach currently serves on the recently formed Engineering Leadership Counsel (ELC).
Krach received an honorary doctorate in industrial engineering from Purdue University in 2018 in recognition for his accomplishments as an entrepreneur, early pioneer in robotics, and as chairman of the board of trustees.
Krach is the chairman of the DocuSign IMPACT Foundation, DocuSign’s philanthropic entity. He established the $30 Million DocuSign IMPACT Foundation with a mission to transform recipient entities by using DocuSign technology to streamline operations and make them more efficient. This nonprofit foundation provides a 1-for-1 match for DocuSign’s employees for nonprofit entities such as the Special Olympics, Team Rubicon, Techbridge Girls, Free The Children, and New Story. Krach serves as Advisory Board Chairman for New Story, which, among other causes, provided disaster relief initiative for Haiti after Hurricane Matthew in 2016.
Krach gave a $1 million gift to City Year for the organization’s San Jose and Silicon Valley branch to reach about 1,000 students at 12 elementary and middle schools through after-school programs focused on teaching science, technology, engineering, and math. The grant also funds a team of school-based AmeriCorps members, including opportunities for professional development.
In August 2018, Krach made an endowment-level gift to the Sigma Chi Foundation that will establish the Krach Transformational Leaders Workshop. This will replace the Balfour Leadership Training Workshop as the largest leadership training event in the Greek-letter fraternal world.
Author, speaker, and lecturer
Krach is a frequent contributing writer for Forbes, Entrepreneur, and the World Economic Forum on topics of transformational leadership, overseas expansion, building high performance teams, category creation, global digital transformation and mentorship.
Krach has spoken at Harvard, Stanford, Purdue, Berkeley and IMD Business School in Switzerland on entrepreneurship, innovation, and leadership. Krach was selected to be on best keynote speaker list by Meetings and Conventions Group speakers bureau along with Colin Powell, Ken Blanchard, Stephen Covey, and Mike Krzyzewski.
In 2017, Krach was a featured speaker at the F50 Global Capital Summit, an event seeking to bring together global investors with Silicon Valley’s leading venture capitalists. He was additionally a featured speaker at the 2018 Sales 3.0 Conference where he spoke about leadership. In 2018, Krach was highlighted in Profile magazine with a feature detailing his business approach and strategies.
Krach has also been a featured speaker at the 2017 Digital Summit in Japan, the Benzinga Fintech Summit, and Fortune CEO Initiative 2018 Annual Meeting. At the request of Nikkei and the Government of Japan, Krach recently keynoted at the Global Digital Summit in Tokyo and presented a case study on DocuSign as a catalyst for accelerating the country’s digital transformation.
Through the Krach Family Foundation, he funded the Keith Krach leadership scholarship at Purdue University. It has been awarded to five students each year, since 2009. In 2014, Purdue dedicated the Krach Leadership Center to him.
On June 20, 2019, Krach was confirmed by the Senate as Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, United States Alternate Governor of the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, and United States Alternate Governor of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development.
He serves as the country’s top economic diplomat for the State Department. The position is commonly referred to as the “E” inside of government.
His responsibilities include international trade and investment policy; international finance, development, and debt policy; economic sanctions and combating terrorist financing; international energy security policy; international telecommunications and transportation policies; support for U.S. businesses, and economic policy analysis, public diplomacy and private sector outreach.
He is also charged with advancing the State Department’s economic development agenda; elevating and intensifying the Department’s efforts related to energy security, clean energy, and environmental sustainability; and fostering innovation through robust science, entrepreneurship, and technology policies. He covers issues that reach from the vastness of space to the depths of the oceans with the goal of advancing U.S. strategic interests through policy aimed at ensuring that economic growth and a healthy planet go hand in hand.
His stated mission is to lead economic statecraft initiatives to enhance economic growth, energy security and the health of the planet, in order maximize national security and advance the interests of United States citizens. Several bureaus and offices fall within the purview of the E family, including the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, the Bureau of Energy Resources, the Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, the Office of the Chief Economist and the Office of the Science & Technology Adviser.
In Krach’s testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, he stated that as head of economic diplomacy, his focus will be on embracing this opportunity and harnessing three areas of competitive advantage: strengthening our partnerships with friends and allies, leveraging the innovation and resources of the private sector, and amplifying the moral high ground of our American values and enduring optimism to advance peace and prosperity for our country and for the world.
Krach serves as United States Alternate Governor of The European Bank For Reconstruction And Development; United States Alternate Governor Of The International Bank For Reconstruction And Development; And United States Alternate Governor Of The Inter-American Development Bank. The Under Secretary is the designated Ombudsperson for the U.S.-EU and U.S.-Swiss Privacy Shield Frameworks.
Krach lives in San Francisco, California. He is married to Metta Krach, former senior corporate counsel at Gap Inc., current member of the board of visitors for Georgetown Law School, board of governors for the San Francisco Symphony, and current member of the executive committee of the board of trustees for the Bay Area Discovery Museum. They have five children.
In 2015, Krach successfully caught a thief who had taken his iPhone from his hands. As he chased the thief, he was spotted by police officers, who eventually apprehended the thief. Upon confirming Krach's identity, they provided him with a “legal loophole,” which enabled him to recover his phone sooner, rather than having it impounded as evidence. Krach claimed the officers had recently used DocuSign and shared their positive experiences with him.
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