Keith Krach was once quoted in an interview saying one of the things that keep him from resting on his laurels is being a “paranoid overachiever.” A quick look over Krach’s professional and personal background, and you know he wasn’t over exaggerating.
Krach’s overachieving ways go all the way back to Purdue University, where he was a General Motors Scholar and earned a Bachelor’s of Science degree in industrial engineering in 1979. General Motors saw such promise; they paid for his MBA studies at Harvard University. Upon receiving his degree in 1981, he returned to GM and quickly worked his way up through the ranks to become the company’s youngest-ever vice president. He was just 26. Krach then led the company’s first-ever Japanese joint-venture, GMF Robotics.
After having worked for GM for a decade, the budding entrepreneur left the corporate world for the startup world. He headed to Silicon Valley, California where he went on to successfully tackle what he calls his biggest challenge – starting companies from scratch. “The key to success is building a high-performance team, but it takes a lot of work,” Krach said.
He proved he had the winning formula for both building teams and putting in the work during his years in California. In Silicon Valley, Krach proved it three times over, first by becoming a founding team member and Chief Operating Officer at Rasna Corporation. With Krach at the helm, the marketer of mechanical design automation, was sold in 1995 to Parametric technologies for $500 million, but not before being recognized as number 3 on the Inc. 100’s list of fastest growing companies.
Continuing his entrepreneurial passions, Krach co-founded Ariba in 1996. Ariba is known for being one of the first business-to-business internet companies to go public in 1999. Under Krach’s leadership, the company achieved market capitalization of $34 billion. More than 200,000 companies, including nearly all of the Fortune 100 Companies, used Ariba’s service-as-a-software (Saas) platform. Krach served as Ariba’s Board Chairman and CEO for seven years. Red Herring magazine named Krach one of the top 10 entrepreneurs and named Ariba as the best managed privately held high-tech company, in 1998. During his tenure at Ariba, Krach also received the National Entrepreneur of the Year award from Ernst & Young in 2000 and the Technology Pioneer Award at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.
Krach’s hard working nature and keen entrepreneurial sense has most recently been tapped to serve as the new Chairman and CEO of Seattle electronic signature company, DocuSign which has become the global standard for eSignatures. Krach had been serving as Board Chairman to DocuSign, before taking over as CEO. Krach said he is looking forward to once again using his skills to build on DocuSign’s team and continue the company’s trajectory of growth.
Krach’s achievements extend far beyond just corporate boardrooms. He has continued his ties with his alma mater and fraternity. From 2005-2007, Krach served as the International President for the Sigma Chi Fraternity. He was appointed to the Purdue Board of Trustees by Governor Mitch Daniels in 2007. By 2009, his fellow trustees elected him to head the organization as Chairman of the Board. He has also been named a Distinguished Engineer at Purdue. In 2007, Krach also served as a member of the Joint Civilian Orientation Conference in the Middle East, sponsored by the U.S. Department of Defense.
Krach has served on the Boards of numerous other companies, including: CollabNet, Microposite, Tropos and Ooma. Krach serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors at Angie’s List. Founded by Bill Oesterle and Angie Hicks, Angie’s List is the nation’s premier provider of consumer reviews. Krach was pursued for the role in part, because of his strategic business insights.
Krach also has a soft-spot for philanthropic causes, having co-founded the Children’s Autistic Network and having sat on the Board of Governors for Opportunity International, which provides micro loans throughout the world.
Krach is a celebrated lecturer and has spoken at Harvard, Stanford, Berkeley and IMD Business School in Switzerland on a variety of topics including business strategy, technology and how to build a high performance team.
Keith Krach has three grown children: Monika, Stephen and Carter. He and his wife Metta welcomed twins JD and Emma to their family in 2011.
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