Helene L. Kaplan

Helene L. Kaplan

Sandra Day O’Connor Board Excellence Award

Helene L. Kaplan is of counsel to the firm of Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP. She represents not-for-profit institutions and individuals with substantial philanthropic interests. Mrs. Kaplan has served in the not-for-profit sector as counsel or trustee of many scientific, arts, charitable and educational institutions and foundations.

She is the first trustee to serve a second term as chair of the board of Carnegie Corporation of New York, and upon her retirement on March 1, 2007, she became the first chair to be elected an honorary trustee. Mrs. Kaplan is also a trustee of The American Museum of Natural History. She is trustee emerita and chair emerita of Barnard College and a trustee emerita of The Institute for Advanced Study, The Commonwealth Fund and The J. Paul Getty Trust. She is a member and a former director of the Council on Foreign Relations. She is a fellow of the American Philosophical Society and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Mrs. Kaplan has served as a director of ExxonMobil Corporation (Mobil 1989-1999 and ExxonMobil 1999-2004); MetLife, Inc. and Metropolitan Life Insurance (1987-2008); May Department Stores Corporation (1985- 2005); JPMorgan Chase and Company and its predecessor companies (1987- 2004); and Verizon Communications, Inc. and its predecessor companies (1990- 2003). Mrs. Kaplan also has served as a trustee of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation, the MITRE Corporation and the New York Foundation, and was chair of the New York Council for the Humanities and vice-chair of the New York City Public Development Corporation. She has been a member of the Carnegie Commission on Science, Technology, and Government and chaired its Task Force on Judicial and Regulatory Decision Making. From 1985 to 1987, Mrs. Kaplan was a member of the U.S. Secretary of State’s Advisory Committee on South Africa, and from 1986 to 1990, she served as a member of New York Governor Cuomo’s Task Force on Life and the Law, concerned with the legal and ethical implications of advances in medical technology.

Mrs. Kaplan is the recipient of numerous awards. Her alma mater, Barnard College, has honored her with the Barnard Medal of Distinction, and Columbia University awarded her an honorary doctorate of laws in 1990. In May 2001, Mrs. Kaplan received an honorary doctorate of humane letters from Mount Sinai School of Medicine. She has been named by Directors’ Alert as one of corporate America’s 10 outstanding directors.