Jen Fonner Fitchen

Jen Fonner Fitchen

Class of 2023

Jen is a highly regarded dealmaker, strategist and corporate advisor who has led hundreds of industry-changing transactions involving more than $230 billion in value for companies ranging from groundbreaking start-ups to global Fortune 500 companies. As a 30-year veteran of Silicon Valley, boards of directors and executive teams rely on her battle-tested strategic acumen, value her proven ability to resolve challenging business issues, and follow her advice on matters of critical importance to creation and protection of stockholder value.

Jen has been a trusted advisor to more than 100 public companies and their boards. She has guided boards through many complex and mission critical projects including mergers and acquisitions, activism, hostile takeovers, shareholder lawsuits, government investigations, cyber-attacks, and other crises. She has significant experience working with global serial acquirors and is adept at handling the myriad and unique issues serial acquirors face as well as bridging foreign regulatory and cultural differences to achieve results consistent with domestic acquisition activity. Jen is also a go-to strategic advisor on general governance and corporate policy matters, risk assessments and compensation structures for both public and privately held companies. She has worked with more than 50 start-up companies in their formation, venture funding, and M&A or IPO exits. Jen partners closely with the C-suite, collaborating on all aspects of their businesses.

Until retiring in 2023, Jen was a partner at Sidley Austin, a complex multinational business with over 2000 lawyers in 21 offices around the world and annual revenues of over $3 billion. She was Global Co-Chair of the Mergers & Acquisitions practice, leading the firm’s strategic and business development initiatives, with budget and expense responsibility, on behalf of the global practice of 250 M&A professionals. Deal volume increased by 60% and profitability improved during her leadership. She also served as Chair of the Northern California Associate Compensation Committee, ensuring the retention and advancement of talent for the firm.

Committed to meaningful advancement of DEI goals, she created and developed Sidley’s Women in M&A initiative, supporting the inclusion and promotion of women in M&A at all levels of seniority. Jen was continuously ranked as one of the top corporate and M&A lawyers in the San Francisco Bay / Silicon Valley Area from 2010 until her retirement, according to Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business, which included this commentary in its 2021 rankings: “She has great M&A market knowledge and the ability to put complex topics into simple terms and state uncomfortable truths in non-threatening language to senior executives.”

Through her leadership of the Acquisitions of Public Companies subcommittee of the ABA, Jen drove changes in Delaware law and SEC regulations that have had a substantial impact on how boards execute their fiduciary duties and deliver stockholder value. As a recognized expert in her field, she teaches seminars on corporate and M&A matters, including at Stanford’s Directors’ College, Silicon Valley Directors’ Exchange and the NACD.

Jen earned her degree in economics from UCLA and her JD from Georgetown. She is a member of the Class of 2023 of the DirectWomen Board Institute.