John Page, Senior Vice President, Chief Corporate Social Responsibility Officer & Chief Legal Officer at Golden State Foods Corp., was appointed chair of the Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC) board of directors, assuming his new role as chairman during the 2014 ACC Annual Meeting in New Orleans. Page joined ACC in 2000 and joined Golden State Foods Corp., located in Irvine, California, in 2004. He has served on the ACC board of directors since 2009.
Page, born in Brooklyn, New York, is the youngest of five children born to a 21 year-old single mom. His family benefited from government assistance while he was growing up in tough neighborhoods of Brooklyn. Early on Page was taught and shown what it was to be excellent. Today Page attributes his success to reading, great upbringing by his mom and extended family who cheered him on to achieve. My mom often disciplined me as I was a kid with “behavior” problems. My mother helped me understand the power of choices and striving to do better. She was an example to us, she sacrificed for her five kids so that we could take care of ourselves and contribute to society. “By the time I was graduating from law school my mother was being promoted as an Office Manager earning over $80,000 a year and had gone back to school to get her associates college degree. My mother taught me how amazing women are and how I too could be excellent.”
Fast forward to today, Page is overjoyed at leading the Board for The Association of Corporate Counsel (ACC), a global bar association representing more than 35,000 in-house counsel in more than 85 countries. ACC members includes a list of most Fortune 500, Global 1000 and largest privately held companies in the United States and abroad.
Earlier in his career, Page practiced as a commercial litigator, then worked in the legal departments of Lucent Technologies and Avaya, Inc., both in New Jersey. At Golden State Foods, which serves as a leading food supplier and distributor to companies including McDonald’s, Starbucks, Yum! Brands and Chick-fil-A, Page is responsible for all legal, compliance, governance and sustainability issues.
Page is a leading proponent of in-house lawyers learning as many aspects of their business and their clients’ perspectives to better serve them as counsel. In fact, he believes you otherwise fail in your role as “counsel” if you don’t know the business.
“John is a great advocate for the in-house profession and demonstrates that the roles and responsibilities of today’s chief legal officer extend beyond the legal department into business strategy,” said Veta T. Richardson, ACC’s president and CEO. “Most importantly, John has established that diversity and corporate social responsibility initiatives are strong complements to the work of corporations and law departments – and has made his own company and department a prime example of success.”
From 2012 to 2013, Page served as president of the National Bar Association, the nation’s oldest and largest national network of predominantly African American attorneys and judges. In 2012, Page was named the recipient of the ACC Matthew J. Whitehead II Diversity Award. In 2008, he was awarded the ACC Southern California Diversity Award for his active mentoring and leadership roles with grade school students and young lawyers through Journey To Attorney, Corporate Leadership Forum, and the Golden State Foods Foundation. He was also named General Counsel of the Year by the Orange County Business Journal in 2010.
“I am incredibly proud to serve as board chair for ACC, an organization which has supported me throughout my in-house career and which has helped me grow in my leadership roles – first serving on chapter-level boards, then through the global board of directors and now as board chair,” said Page. “As board chair, I look forward to working with the other members of the board to advance the interests of the in-house bar, especially on compliance and ethics, diversity and corporate social responsibility issues around the world, and ACC’s five-year strategic plan.”
Page is a graduate from Pace University and the University of Pennsylvania Law School, where he served as editor of the Law Review. He currently serves on the Board of Trustees of Tuskegee University.