Skip to content »

Kathleen M. Franklin

Kathleen Franklin has over 30 years of experience working with Fortune 500 global businesses as a C-suite executive and as an advisor to Boards of Directors, CEOs, CFOs and Fund Managers on strategic business and risk initiatives. Today, she leads global ethics and compliance at Sony Corporation of America, where she partners with her Board and the company business leaders to devise cost-effective, practical, enterprise-wide solutions for critical risk areas. Kathleen is known for her expertise in bridging the gap between the demands of regulators and the current and future needs of the business. Her risk leadership includes cybersecurity, anti-corruption, antitrust, anti-money laundering, economic sanctions, social media, proper workplace conduct and anti-fraud risks as well as supply chain risks such as human trafficking and conflict minerals. 

Kathleen’s diverse business experience includes corporate governance, mergers, acquisitions and other strategic transactions, crisis management and executive compensation. Her industry experience spans entertainment, electronics, medical devices, health care, construction, cable television, insurance, energy and consumer products industries. She has worked with public, private and family-controlled companies. 

Since joining Sony in 2010, some key accomplishments are: 

  • Worked with C-suite business leaders to create and embrace a culture of ethics as a winning business strategy. In 2014, Sony was rated top 5 World’s most reputable companies by stakeholders in the annual Reputation Institute/Forbes survey. 
  • Integrated diverse business units with separate legal/compliance functions into a single enterprise-wide program by developing uniform global best practices. 
  • Developed and implemented a comprehensive self-audit launched to over 250 business units, which together with risk-based audits, enables the company to effectively identify any ethics/compliance program gaps and improve allocation of resources. 
  • Helped identify and develop a cross-functional and enterprise-wide risk and compliance technology solution to achieve reduced risk exposure, improved analytics and reduction of overall costs. 
  • Managed internal investigations such as financial fraud, HR and violation of law. 

Prior to Sony, Kathleen was a Partner and Co-Chair of the Corporate Governance Group for Boies, Schiller and Flexner, LLP, an AmLaw 100 law firm that has been described by The Wall Street Journal as a “litigation powerhouse.” During her tenure, representation of high profile clients included Adelphia Communications, Qwest Communications and Maurice R. "Hank" Greenberg, Chairman and CEO of C.V. Starr & Company and former Chairman and CEO of American International Group. 

Kathleen served as a strategic advisor to such clients on a wide range of issues related to mergers, acquisitions, and other strategic transactions, executive compensation, crisis management and litigation. She also advised on corporate governance issues involving the responsibilities of corporate directors in complex financial transactions and crisis management. 

Examples of some of the complex transactions Kathleen has been involved are: 

  • Worked with Adelphia independent board members and interim CEO on key issues following the discovery of the Rigas family fraud to maximize return to shareholders, including initiation of Chapter 11 reorganization, settlement with regulators and prosecution of civil action against the Rigas family. Established governance and internal control systems necessary to fulfill the newly adopted SOX requirements. 
  • Performed functional role of corporate secretary for Adelphia and C.V. Starr boards. 
  • Guided a public company though an auction process and bidding war that resulted in tripling the ultimate value to shareholders. 
  • Successfully led client engagements on a broad range of strategic transactions including a $12.7 billion restructuring, $1billion self-tender and numerous multimillion dollar secured financings, joint ventures, sales, acquisitions and merger transactions. 
  • Counseled public company compensation committees on how to restructure executive compensation systems to recruit, retain and incentivize. 
  • Developed succession and leadership transition plans for firm clients. 
  • Designed, administered and analyzed board self-assessment processes on behalf of nominating and governance committees. 

In addition to her leadership posts, Kathleen is a frequent panelist and lecturer on crisis management, corporate governance, and best practices in ethics and compliance. She continues her leadership and board skill development through completion of post-graduate courses in financial literacy and corporate governance including “Pocket MBA”, hosted by the Practicing Law Institute and courses offered through the National Association of Corporate Directors. 

In March, 2007, Kathleen was one of 20 women selected by a panel of experts based on her financial expertise and business acumen to comprise the inaugural class of the DirectWomen Board Institute. She currently serves on the DirectWomen Board of Advisors and is the Co-Chair of its Marketing and Professional Alliance Committee. In 2009, she was selected as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation in recognition of her contributions to the legal profession and the community. 

As an active member of her community, Kathleen has provided board leadership on several non-profits throughout her career, including the Northeastern New York Chapter of the American Red Cross and Wildwood Programs, Inc. (a social services organization that provides educational, recreational and community based residential services to over 1500 individuals with autism and learning disabilities). Kathleen served as a member of the Wildwood Board from 1996-2010 when she stepped down to assume her position at Sony in New York City. During her tenure, she served as a member of the Board’s Finance and Audit, Legislative and Advocacy and Planned Giving Committees. 

Kathleen graduated magna cum laude from Siena College, Loudonville, New York, where she received a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration. She graduated magna cum laude from Albany Law School of Union University and earned an LL.M in Taxation from New York University School of Law. 

She resides in New York, New York and has two adult children, Nicholas and Christopher, both of whom reside in Upstate New York. Kathleen enjoys outdoor sports, including hiking, biking and kayaking, and has practiced yoga and meditation for over 20 years.