Kathleen A. Walters is a retired senior executive with extensive operating experience in the consumer products and paper industry, both domestically and internationally. Most recently, she was the executive vice president and group president of Georgia-Pacific, leading the consumer products group. Georgia Pacific is an organization which contains the largest retail and commercial tissue and tabletop businesses in North America spanning more than 20 manufacturing locations and 15,000 employees.
Prior to her association with Georgia-Pacific, she held a number of key leadership positions in Europe and the United States for Kimberly-Clark Corporation and Scott Paper Company, and was chief executive officer of SAPPI Fine Paper North America.
Known for her ability to develop business strategies, Walters has a proven record of leading business groups, in various situations, companies and geographies, to improved earnings from growth through innovation, revenue improvement and cost-efficiency strategies. She is adept at aligning large organizations with a vision for the business while simultaneously understanding operational details that help individual units execute on strategic initiatives.
Walters' functional management experience includes marketing, sales, logistics, financial analysis, treasury, investor relations and community relations. Her career experiences include profit and loss accountability in North America and Europe, as well as sales and trading management in Asia.
As a member of the Jabil Circuits, Inc. (NYSE:JBL) board of directors from 2005-2010, she served as the chair of the compensation committee and on other special committees of the board. As the president and chief executive officer of Sappi Fine Paper North America, she was a management advisor to the Sappi Limited (NYSE:SPP) board of directors. She currently serves on the boards of the Georgia Aquarium and the World Affairs Council of Atlanta.
Walters earned an M.B.A., graduating with distinction from the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania, with a focus on finance and strategic planning. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics from Syracuse University.
On May 11, 2019 she was unanimously elected as chair of the Syracuse University Board of Trustees. Walters serves ex officio on all Board standing committees and as chair of the Executive Committee. She serves on the Academic Planning and Steam Station Ad Hoc Workgroups. She served as a Board Vice Chair. She also served on the Ad Hoc Workgroup on Strategic Enrollment Planning, and chaired the Ad Hoc Workgroups on Volunteer Boards and Annual Giving.
Walters serves on the Atlanta Regional Council and University Libraries Advisory Board and she served on the search committee for the senior vice president and chief communications officer.
Kathy and Stanley P. Walters ’72, have been instrumental in coalescing alumni and garnering community support for University initiatives in Atlanta, where the couple resides, including supporting the Cold Case Justice Initiative. They established the Kathy ’73 and Stan ’72 Walters Endowed Fund for Science Research at the College of Arts and Sciences and created a support fund for the Maxwell X Lab. They also support a wide range of University priorities, including the Barnes Center at The Arch, where they funded the Kathy ’73 and Stan ’72 Walters Pet Therapy Room. They have also given generously to Libraries, Athletics, and scholarships.