Karen C. Francis is an experienced CEO and strategic advisor based in Silicon Valley who serves as an independent director on corporate boards, both public and privately owned. She has deep domain expertise in the automotive, advertising, and technology sectors. Karen currently serves on the Board of Directors of AutoNation (NYSE:AN), the largest automotive retailer in the country, Telenav (NASDAQ:TNAV) , technology provider for vehicle navigation systems, and Nauto, an AI driven telematics company in the autonomous vehicle space. Karen is a Certified Board Governance Fellow with the National Association of Corporate Directors and maintains a cutting edge perspective on key and trending issues facing boards including CyberSecurity, Innovation & Disruption, Executive Compensation, Risk Management and Talent Development. She is a founding member of the Women Corporate Directors Silicon Valley chapter.
Her business career includes eight years in Detroit with executive positions at both General Motors and Ford Motor Company.. While at GM, Karen led the launch and management of the Chevrolet Venture minivan business, served as Chevrolet Regional Manager of the Rocky Mountain Region and as General Manager of the Oldsmobile division. While at Ford, Karen was President & CEO of ConsumerConnect, the technology investment division pioneering acquisition and development of industry relevant technologies. One of those joint ventures with Qualcomm was Wingcast, one of the very first telematics companies. Karen served as Chairman of the Board of Wingcast and was deeply engaged integrating new technologies into existing product programs. Karen was named Advertising Age “Woman to Watch” in 1998 and one of the “100 Most Influential Women in Advertising” in 2012, Automotive News “Newsmaker” in 1999, and recognized by the San Francisco Business Times as one of the Most Influential Women in Business in 2005,2006, and 2007.
Karen holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA in economics from Dartmouth College where she also served on the Board of Trustees from 2000-2009. Karen is an avid wine collector and owns her own vineyard in Healdsburg, CA. Karen and her husband Rick DeGolia reside in Atherton, CA.