Honors and Awards

Keith Krach 06.12.2020

Keith Krach: Harvard Business School, Business Leader of the Year

Harvard Business School Association of Northern California named Keith Krach its 2019 Business Leader of the Year. Krach, Chairman of DocuSign and Silicon Valley veteran, was selected in recognition of his transformational leadership and game-changing impact in business, technology, education, and social sectors, as well as his extensive philanthropic endeavors. Previous honorees include such legendary leaders as: George Schultz, Andy Grove, John Chambers, Bill Hewlett, Dave Packard, Charles Schwab, Walter Haas, Robert Mondavi, and Gordon Moore.

Excerpts from Video Transcript:
Keith Krach’s story starts in small-town Ohio, where his father ran a machine shop and his mother was a teacher.
Keith’s father encouraged him to study engineering so he could help grow the family business. But General Motors discovered Keith at Purdue and awarded him a scholarship — first to complete his engineering degree, and then to earn his MBA at Harvard Business School.
After ten years at GM, the allure of Silicon Valley proved irresistible to Krach. He joined the founding team at Rasna, and created the category of Mechanical Design Synthesis.
In 1996, Krach co-founded Ariba, serving as Chairman and CEO. He took the company public in 2000, ultimately achieving a market capitalization of $40 billion and building one of the fastest-growing software companies in history. Today, $3 trillion/year is transacted on the Ariba network, which is more than Amazon and Alibaba combined.
After Ariba, Krach chose to give back to an organization that helped him as a young leader. Krach became Grand Consul of Sigma Chi, and launched a bold vision to transform the fraternity from a social organization to one focused on building character and next-generation leadership.
After Sigma Chi, Krach became Chairman of Purdue University’s Board of Trustees, where he recruited Mitch Daniels—the 49th Governor of Indiana—to serve as president of the university. Together, they dramatically redefined education with the formation of online Purdue University Global. Purdue has set a powerful example addressing the nation’s student debit crisis, with no tuition increases in seven years.
In 2009, Krach launched another transformation in the world of commerce – at DocuSign. As Chairman and CEO, Krach created the category of Digital Transaction management and built the DocuSign Global Trust Network, with more than 400,000 companies and 400 million users in 188 countries. Krach made DocuSign a verb. Empowering anyone to transact anything, anytime, anywhere, on any device–securely. When DocuSign went public in 2018, the company was valued at $9 billion dollars. Krach also created the DocuSign Impact Foundation, a $30M foundation, committed not just to giving, but to transforming charities, using DocuSign to streamline operations.
Krach’s next chapter centered on the transformation of mentorship. He created the Global Mentor Network—a place for aspiring leaders to learn transformational leadership skills from great mentors. Krach figured out a way to deliver mentorship at scale, enabling anyone, anywhere to amplify their impact. He applied his proven principles of creating networks and categories to build the ultimate pay-it-forward model.
When the U.S. Government asked Krach to serve his country, he answered the call. In June of 2019, Krach took the oath of office as Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment. Today, he is strengthening our partnerships with friends and allies; leveraging the innovation and resources of the private sector; while amplifying the moral high ground of our American values. Because he understands that in order to prevail, we must play the game better and take economic statecraft to the next level.
Senator Rob Portman: He’s a natural leader. He’s got a long list of business accomplishments… and he couldn’t be taking the post at a more important time for our country.
Senator Todd Young: What he’s chosen to do with his success demonstrates his character and devotion to causes that will leave this planet better for future generations.
Senator Ben Cardin: It just shows that learning welding skills can do you well in life. So I might go back and try to figure out how to become a welder.
Keith Krach: My life’s work has been focused on creating innovative companies by building high-performance teams—and then empowering them to pursue opportunities and accomplish things they never imagined possible.
I believe the team with the best people wins, and that diversity of thought is the catalyst for genius. This bodes well for the E Team—and the American Team and our noble pursuit of global economic security.
From the bottom of my heart, thank you. Thank you for your faith, your support, your trust and your friendship. I will never forget this day.