Trustee Francis takes top post at ad agency

by Kevin Garland | 10/28/04 5:00am

When Karen Francis '84 takes the helm of advertising agency Publicis & Hal Riney on Nov. 1, she will join the ranks of members of Dartmouth's Board of Trustees who boast heading a major company among their varied achievements.

The Dartmouth alumna, who graduated with a bachelor's degree in economics, served most recently as a vice president at Ford Motor Company.

At Dartmouth, Francis was the founding president of Epsilon Kappa Theta sorority, called Kappa Alpha Theta at the time, and worked in the French language labs. She remains in touch with French professor John Rassias and came to campus this summer to join in a language workshop.

Francis's five-year tenure on the Board of Trustees has greatly boosted her involvement in the Dartmouth community, and she said her recent promotion won't change that trend.

"I'm in my fifth year on the Board. I've spent part of that time working full time and part of that time not. I still bring to Dartmouth an incredible passion, energy and enthusiasm for the school," said Francis, noting that her many career experiences will only enrich her future time serving the College.

Francis also said holding a position of leadership, such as being a CEO, is not necessary for all trustees.

"I think that the Board of Trustees is comprised of many different individuals, and I think that the diversity is fabulous for us, and the more reflective we can be as a student body, the better," Francis said.

When announcing Francis' appointment, Rick Bendel, chief operating officer of Publicis Worldwide, sung her praises in a company press release.

"Karen's exposure to international businesses will also be leveraged to maximize the assets within our global network to deliver holistic marketing services support, a capability required by marketing executives facing an ever-changing landscape," Bendel said.

Francis said she looks forward to collaborating with her new colleagues at Publicis & Hal Riney.

"The people I have met there are incredibly talented and passionate about what they do, and I find that very exciting," she said.

So far, Francis has led a varied career. She spent time at Procter & Gamble, where she explored ways to market Crest toothpaste, as well as at Bain & Company, the Berol Corporation and General Motors.

With Homecoming weekend approaching, Francis plans to play an active role in the celebration. She will help organize a financial aid and scholarship lunch on Friday.

"I absolutely loved my time at Dartmouth, I love the school. Being a trustee is probably the best honor that has ever been bestowed on me," Francis said. "Everything and anything I can do to give back to the school and contribute to the experiences that students can have is a priority for me."

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