2018 Transformational Leader of the Year, Keith Krach, Receives Unanimous Endorsement of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee


Krach Awaits Full Senate Vote to be the Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment

Featured Video (above) – Keith Krach testifies before Senate Foreign Relations Committee

Keith Krach has received the unanimous endorsement of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to serve as the next Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy and the Environment. Last December, Life & News named Krach its 2018 Transformational Leader of the Year for his Commitment to Leadership and Eight World-Changing Transformations: Robotics, Engineering Automation, Electronic Commerce, Leadership Development, Higher Education, Digital Transformation, Philanthropy and Mentorship.

Now, following a remarkable history of transforming industries and institutions in the business, educational and social sectors, Krach will, if confirmed, shift his focus to the public sector, to test his mettle in perhaps the greatest and most challenging arena of all—leading U.S. economic diplomacy for State Department.

According to Senator Rob Portman, of Ohio, who introduced Krach to the committee, “As the senior economic official at the State Department, Keith is going to have a have a really important responsibility.  The job he has been nominated for is really vital, not just to the State Department but to our country right now.  He could not be taking the post at a more important time for our country. There is no doubt in my mind that Keith is up to this task.”   

Sen. Portman: “He’s a natural leader. I know he will serve this nation with distinction.”

The Under Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Energy, and the Environment, known in State Department circles as “the E,” functions as head of economic statecraft for the State Department. Those responsibilities include international trade and investment policy; international finance, development, and debt policy; economic sanctions and combating terrorist financing; international energy security policy; international telecommunications and transportation policies; support for U.S. businesses, and economic policy analysis, public diplomacy and private sector outreach.

The E is also charged with advancing the State Department’s economic development agenda; elevating and intensifying the Department’s efforts related to energy security, clean energy, and environmental sustainability; and fostering innovation through robust science, entrepreneurship, and technology policies. The E covers issues that reach from the vastness of space to the depths of the oceans with the goal of advancing U.S. strategic interests through policy aimed at ensuring that economic growth and a healthy planet go hand in hand.

Senator Todd Young from Indiana also introduced Krach to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee by saying, “What Keith has chosen to do with his success demonstrates his character and devotion to causes that will leave this planet better for future generations. As Salman Kahn noted, ‘Mr. Krach has empowered people to accomplish more than they had ever imagined, resulting in a profound impact on GDP per capita, international trade, and the sustainability of our planet. Take DocuSign as an example. Not only has it been a successful company, it was named one of Glassdoor’s best places to work.  And DocuSign’s disruptive technology has saved more than 20 billion pieces of paper and 608,000 barrels of oil.”

Sen. Young, “Mr. Krach is going to be a true asset to the State Department and our nation.”

Several bureaus and offices fall within the purview of the E family, including the Bureau of Economic and Business Affairs, Bureau of Energy Resources, Bureau of Oceans and International Environmental and Scientific Affairs, Office of the Chief Economist and the Office of the Science & Technology Adviser.  The E team is positioned at the center of the global conversation and serves at the forefront of U.S. diplomatic efforts to confront some of the world’s greatest challenges.

The E’s work has impact on millions of U.S. jobs, advances U.S. foreign policy and national security interests, and oversees work done on international issues like fighting infectious diseases, and combating wildlife trafficking and illegal, unregulated and unreported fishing and promotes water security, peaceful cooperation on polar issues, sustainable ocean policy, science and technology cooperation, nature conservation, and climate and space policy, among other vital topics.

These are challenging times to step into this position. Krach stated in his hearing, “I fully appreciate the enormity and gravity of this role, especially in a time where the reality we face as a nation is of ever-increasing cyber warfare and seemingly ceaseless variations of intense, perhaps even weaponized, economic competition.”

Krach’s role also includes positions as United States Alternate Governor of several international banks and funds for overseas development and investment. He is also the designated Ombudsperson for the U.S.-EU and U.S.-Swiss Data Privacy Shield Frameworks.

Krach with Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Hoettges
Krach presenting Digital Hero award to Deutsche Telekom CEO Tim Hoettges

Krach’s Confirmation Hearing

In  Krach’s opening statement, he shared that his story starts like that of many Americans, growing up in small-town Ohio where his father ran a machine shop and his mother was a teacher.  “My dad’s customers were suppliers to the big three car companies in Detroit, and his fortunes were tied to theirs,” Krach said. “At age 12, I became a welder in his shop and soon learned how to work all the machines.  In good times, my father employed as many as five workers, whom he treated as family. In bad times, I was his only employee and I saw him go through the agonizing process of having to lay off his trusted team. His pain was not lost on me.”

Krach Family
Krach family gathered for the holidays

He also thanked his family for being there: his wife Metta, who is a Georgetown lawyer and serves on their board; and his five children, Monika, a marine biologist; Steve, a spacecraft design engineer at NASA; Carter, a Silicon Valley tech entrepreneur; and Metta and Keith’s 7-year-old twins, JD and Emma, “whose courage, kindness, and sense of justice inspires me every day.”

Senator Cardin of Delaware commented on Krach’s opening statement “Mr. Krach, I must tell you I have listened to many statements before our committee, and yours was one of the most impressive I have heard.”

Cardin to Krach: “Yours was one of the most impressive opening statements I’ve heard.”

Krach’s comments during his confirmation hearing are indicative of his convictions, character and plans in the new role. Here are a few of them:

On the opportunity to serve our nation:

“This Ohio boy, who began his journey welding parts and later had the good fortune of welding together billion-dollar companies, has had the blessing of a true All-American dream. But not even this dreamer could have ever imagined, that one day, he might be presented with an opportunity to give back to this great nation, which has given him so much.”

“If confirmed, it would be the privilege of my life to serve this country and pay it forward to the next generation of Americans.”

On State Department staff:

“I would like to thank all 7 of the former “E’s” and the incredible State Department team, who spent their valuable time with me sharing their insights about this important role.”

“I would also like to thank the incredibly professional group of Civil and Foreign Service officers for the amazingly diverse work they do to support American interests here and abroad. I can honestly say I have never worked with a more welcoming, dedicated, intelligent, hard-working and patriotic group.”

“As a global business man, I can assure you, having the finest diplomatic corps in the world in your corner is a strategic asset whether it’s here or abroad.”  

Krach accelerating digital transformation -- Tokyo
Krach presents to large gathering of Japanese government officials and CEOs on their National Imperative of “Accelerating the Digital Transformation.” -Tokyo

“There is no substitute for American diplomacy,” Krach said. “I believe the team with the best people wins and that diversity of thought is the catalyst for genius. With that in mind, if confirmed, I will work side-by-side at all levels with our preeminent diplomatic corps and with each of you [on the committee] in a meaningful way benefiting from your experience, your insights, and your wisdom.”

On economic development:

“After some initial success in business, I served on the Board of Governors for Opportunity International, the biggest global issuer of micro loans, and took my family on adventurous journeys to hand out $50 loans in poverty-stricken places around the world,” said Krach. “I will never forget being in the slums of Mumbai, after my 12-year-old son Carter handed an 18-year-old single mother of a crippled child a $50 loan to purchase a sewing machine. He said to me, ‘I get it now, dad. We’re not giving them fish, we’re teaching them to fish.’”

New Story Charity
Transforming families and communities with Opportunity International and New Story Charities

“My children saw firsthand, that economic empowerment and entrepreneurship can truly have a transformative impact on families and communities. That same concept, is what makes the E mission so meaningful for me.”

On economic statecraft:

“As you know, our rivals are playing the long game and they are playing for keeps, a four-dimensional game of economic, military, diplomatic, and cultural chess with little respect for human rights, intellectual property, international law, transparency, the environment, or sovereignty of nations. At the end of the day, there is no substitute for American leadership. In order to prevail, we must play this game better and take economic statecraft to the next level.

“Economic diplomacy is at an inflection point and technological advances have changed everything. Change is inevitable, and I believe it is also the most powerful and exciting word in any language. Change need not favor our adversaries.”

Krach with Chairman of Japan Post discussing DocuSign’s entry into the Japanese market
Krach with Chairman of Japan Post discussing DocuSign’s entry into the Japanese market

“If confirmed, my focus will be on embracing this opportunity and harnessing 3 powerful areas of competitive advantage: strengthening our partnerships with friends and allies, leveraging the innovation and resources of the private sector, and amplifying the moral high ground of our American values and enduring optimism to advance peace and prosperity for our country and for the world.”

On the environment:

In response to Senator Bob Menendez’s questions regarding environmental policy, Krach said, “I think the climate issue is a very serious issue. I think we all want to leave and preserve the health of our planet for our children and our grandchildren.”

“Mr Krach, I hope you are ready to hit the ground running.”

“I do believe that the health of the planet is critical for economic security and also national security.  And I believe innovating in the clean tech area holds the key.  If confirmed, I will leverage my background in the area of innovation and high-tech to make sure that we mitigate greenhouse gases while protecting our national security.”

When asked by the Senator, “How can that be achieved?”  Krach responded, “I think it is to clearly focus on results.  For example, since 2005, our GDP has grown 19 percent. Our greenhouse emissions have gone down 14 percent.  I am a businessman and I focus on results. And as I mentioned in my opening statement, I want to focus on optimizing energy security, economic growth, and the health of the planet.  And I believe that innovation holds such a great key there.”

“DocuSign is a transformative organization…It is probably one of the greenest companies on the planet.”— Bold Business
“DocuSign is a transformative organization…It is probably one of the greenest companies on the planet.”— Bold Business

On energy policy:

Krach was asked by Senator Chris Murphy about his commitment to take advantage of the provisions of the bipartisan European Energy Security and Diversification Act to, “stand up new capacities to try to help countries around the Russian periphery become energy independent of Russia.”

Krach replied, “I believe that energy security is a vital component to national security. And a key to energy security is obviously to diversify all sources of energy. So, Senator, you have my commitment. If confirmed, I will do everything possible to utilize our Foreign Service experts and bring all forces to bear.”

Krach to Senator Murphy: Energy security is a vital component of national security.

On Economic Development:

Senator Chris Coons asked Krach what recommendations he might make to Secretary Pompeo to make sure State Department policy has, “impact on the ground, and makes a difference in the developing world, vis a vis China.” Krach said that he would recommend a three-pronged strategy:

Krach outlines three-pronged development strategy to Senator Coons

“The first one, in terms of deploying those funds, is to focus on strategic countries where we could make the most difference,” Krach replied.

“The second would be to leverage the innovation and resources of the private sector.  And when I mean private sector, I mean not just the business sector but also the educational sector and the social sector as well.”

Krach with Ginni Rometty, IBM Chairman & CEO
Krach with Ginni Rometty, IBM Chairman & CEO

The third one would be to amplify American values.  The question is, ‘how do you make American values come alive?’  I would start off with focusing on the power of entrepreneurship, economic empowerment of women, and also education.”

Senator Coons responded, “I could not agree with you more.”

Krach’s endless quest for transformation

Harvard Business School Association of Northern California has named Keith Krach its 2019 Business Leader of the Year in recognition of his transformational leadership and game-changing impact in business, technology, education, and social sectors, as well as his extensive philanthropic endeavors.

HBSANCKrach’s history of transformational leadership is stunning. As GM’s youngest Vice President, he used robotics to transform factory automation, eliminating tedious labor and streamlining production—and laying the groundwork for what would become the largest industrial robotics manufacturer in the world. At engineering software category leader, Rasna, he revolutionized mechanical engineering with automatic design optimization. At Ariba, he reinvented B2B e-commerce  by building the first enterprise application on the web to automate procurement. Today more than $1.7 trillion in transactions are processed through the Ariba Network each year—more than Amazon, eBay and Alibaba combined.

Mama Krach

Krach commented in his hearing My mother taught me that a meaningful career is truly about “giving back and paying it forward,” so after some initial success I set out to give back to the organizations that helped me along the way, as well as, pay it forward to people who are less fortunate than me.” And he has.

The irrepressible Mama Krach introduces a new category at DocuSign all hands meeting

As Chairman of the Board of Trustees for Purdue University, Krach paid it forward by recruiting former Indiana Governor, Mitch Daniels, to become president.  Daniels has since been recognized by the Wall Street Journal as America’s most innovative university president. They teamed up to transform higher education by taking on the challenge of addressing the $1.5 Trillion student debt crisis by freezing tuition for the last seven years and making a 4-year undergraduate degree more accessible to all through Purdue University Global.

Senator Young quoted Mitch Daniels in his intro of Krach by saying, “I asked Purdue President Mitch Daniels to describe Mr. Krach’s relationship to the university and one word stood out: “beloved.” He continued, “he is beloved for his commitment to students and for helping advance the university’s mission in learning, discovery, and engagement. And we will be proud to see his influence on an even larger scale.”

Purdue President Mitch Daniels after bestowing honorary doctorate in engineering on Krach
Purdue President Mitch Daniels after bestowing honorary doctorate in engineering on Krach

Krach has also fulfilled his pay-it-forward passion of developing the next generation of transformational leaders by being the founder of The Virtual Mentor Network (VMN). According to Krach, “I’ve benefited tremendously over the years from many priceless mentor relationships. I believe mentorship is the key to building the next generation of transformational leaders we need to address some of the critical issues we face in the public, private and social sectors of our society.”

Krach with Virtual Mentor, Kim Hammonds, former COO, Deutsche Bank

The problem is there aren’t enough good mentors to go around. And while one-on-one relationships can be rich and fruitful, they just don’t scale effectively. VMN addresses this problem by capturing vital life lessons from top leaders on video and making them available to aspiring leaders online. This “virtual mentor” approach makes it possible to scale up the process of building the character and skills that aspiring leaders need, while enabling them to tap the insights of many mentors all at once.

Krach’s drive to pay it forward extends to the world of philanthropy as well. He established the $30 Million DocuSign IMPACT Foundation with a mission, not just to give to global charities, but to transform them—by using DocuSign technology to streamline operations and make them more efficient. A great example, is enabling the 5 million Special Olympics’ athletes to have their medical permission slips, which are required before participating in every event, DocuSigned on their phone.

Krach at Special Olympics Winter Games, Graz Austria
Krach at Special Olympics Winter Games, Graz Austria


In addition to his global work at Opportunity International, the Krach Family Foundation’s $1 million gift to City Year’s mentorship program is underwriting the transformation of thousands of at-risk children’s lives in Silicon Valley and across the country. And New Story Charity, another of Krach’s favorite causes, is transforming the way permanent housing is built for needy families in third-world countries—using advanced 3-D printing to dramatically cut construction costs. During Krach’s Senate Committee hearing, Senator Young summed up his philanthropic endeavours by saying, “Mr. Krach is a force multiplier for charitable causes.”

Photo Caption: Keith and wife Metta, along with Emma, being honored with City Year 2018 Citizen Leadership Award
Photo Caption: Keith and wife Metta, along with Emma, being honored with City Year 2018 Citizen Leadership Award

Most recently, at DocuSign, Krach worked to transform the way people, and organizations come to agreement, creating the category of Digital Transaction Management. In the process, he played a part in helping to transform our environment. While DocuSign’s 400 million users in 188 countries experienced greater simplicity, speed, security, and convenience, more than 20 billion pieces of paper and 608,000 barrels of oil were saved, so far.

Krach with Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman, congratulating him on his 3rd Nasdaq IPO
Krach with Nasdaq CEO Adena Friedman, congratulating him on his 3rd Nasdaq IPO

The Next Grand Challenge

If Krach gets Senate approval, his considerable skills will be put to the test as never before. He will need to apply his experience and grit in transforming industries and institutions in the private sector, to perhaps the greatest and most challenging arena of all—leading U.S. economic diplomacy for the State Department.

Keith Krach’s remarkable eight transformations.
Keith Krach’s remarkable eight transformations.

Krach concluded his Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing by saying, “If confirmed, I will work tirelessly and strategically here and around the world to optimize economic growth, energy security, and the health of our planet for the sake of advancing the interests of our citizens and maximizing our national security.”

We have no doubt he will. In December, Life & News named Keith Krach our “2018 Transformational Leader of the Year.” Our vetting process for making the award gave our editorial team the opportunity to delve deep into Krach’s remarkable capabilities, character and achievements. Along the way, we discovered that Krach could have hung up his spikes years ago, at the ripe old age of 39, after he made his first fortune at Rasna. In Fortune’s 1998 feature article on him, The New Way To Start Up In Silicon Valley, Fortune commented that at the time, “He could have simply retired, moved to the south of France, and spent the rest of his days picking mushrooms.”

Metta, Keith and little Emma heading off to a new adventure
Metta, Keith and little Emma heading off to a new adventure

But that’s not him. He had to take up a new challenge. As we see Krach stepping up to answer the call to serve our nation in such an important capacity, we are even more inspired today than we were last year. It is heartening, in our current era, to see such an accomplished leader, with no apparent partisan agenda, accept the mantle of public service.

Godspeed Keith Krach!


Related Articles:

June 21, 2019 · Keith Krach Confirmed as Under Secretary during U.S. Senate Confirmation Vote on June 20th, 2019

June 20, 2019 · BREAKING NEWS — United States Senate confirms Keith Krach by unanimous consent as newest Under Secretary of State

January 19, 2019 · White House Announces Intent to Nominate Keith Krach to Under Secretary of State