2018 Powered by Women
From reader nominations, DBusiness selected eight professional women who are driving growth in Michigan, the nation, and the world.
(page 5 of 8)
Terri Harwood // Katie Bowman Coleman // Amy B. Robinson // Monica Martinez
Lilly Epstein Stotland // Christine Sitek // Tricia Ruby // Sara Blackmer
Executive Vice President, General Counsel • DowDuPont Inc., Midland; Wilmington, Del.
Employees: 98,000 • Revenue: $80B
On the Friday of Memorial Day weekend, Stacy Fox initiated her morning by looking eastward across Lake Huron. “My day literally started watching this fireball erupt over the horizon,” Fox says.
She was at her lakeside house in Lexington. Seeing the sunrise was splendid, but soon she settled into reading emails related to her position as executive vice president and general counsel at DowDuPont Inc. In December 2015, Dow Chemical in Midland and DuPont completed a merger worth $130 billion, and as part of the deal, Fox joined the leadership team from the DuPont side.
“I’ve sort of juggled a number of responsibilities for a few years,” she says. “As they (Dow and DuPont) merged, I was asked to be general counsel. I’ve been working for the last 18 months getting through regulatory processes around the world. We’re now in the phase where we’re starting to separate.”
Yes, that’s right. After the merger, DowDuPont is splitting into three units: Corteva Agriscience (seeds and agricultural chemicals), Dow (plastics, materials, and chemicals), and DuPont (nutrition, biosciences, and more).
The juggling act would continue into the holiday weekend. On that Saturday night, Fox expected 200 guests in what she called the first of several “soft opening” events at the Cadillac House. Dating from 1860, it had been Lexington’s grand hotel and restaurant, although the hotel service was eventually dropped. Wearing her other hat, as co-founder and principal of the Roxbury Group, a real estate development company in Detroit, Fox bought the inn two years ago and had Roxbury manage the restoration. “I own it with my kids,” she says. “We’re redeveloping this incredible Italianate structure back to its original look and, in many cases, original features and material.”
Roxbury is also completing a redevelopment of the 15-story Metropolitan Building, informally known as the Jeweler’s Building, at 33 John R St. just behind the John Varvatos store in downtown Detroit. When it opens later this year, the neo-Gothic tower will offer a 110-room Element Hotel, downtown’s first extended-stay lodging, as well as retail space. The rooftop bar and terrace will fill a niche, too. “Detroit has very few rooftop amenities that are open to the public,” Fox says.
The Roxbury Group launched in 2005. Fox and her business partner, David Di Rita, who had worked for her as deputy general counsel at Visteon Corp. in Van Buren Township, had to look hard for stepping-stones, and they did real estate relocations for nonprofits like the United Way and Legal Aid of Detroit. “We were basically doing real estate consulting,” she says. “After we came out of the recession, we bought the David Whitney Building and were on our way.”
Fox has also been enmeshed in Detroit at the deepest level, having been deputy emergency manager during the city’s bankruptcy. Gov. Rick Snyder appointed her to serve with her University of Michigan Law School classmate, emergency manager Kevyn Orr. In a compressed period starting in 2013, they sorted out the finances, settled unfunded pension plans, and kept the Detroit Institute of Arts from deaccessioning its collection. Judge Gerald Rosen’s “Grand Bargain” brought private foundations into the mix, with the city, state of Michigan, and pensioners helping to resolve the crisis.
Fox says her takeaway from the experience centered on the potency of public-private partnerships. “What the bankruptcy most vividly illustrated is how much you can accomplish if private and public concerns truly pull together around a single vision,” she says. “What we were able to do with the Grand Bargain is nothing short of a miracle. Now, it wasn’t perfect, but it was an incredible show of coming together with public and private parties.” — Ronald Ahrens