Our People

Joele Frank

Managing Partner

Joele Frank

Managing Partner

Joele is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Joele Frank, Wilkinson Brimmer Katcher. Founded in 2000, the firm has ranked #1 in M&A since 2013 and #1 in shareholder activism defense since 2019. Among her many professional accolades, Joele was honored by The M&A Advisor with its 2023 Lifetime Achievement Award and named to its Hall of Fame. Joele was also named to PR Week’s Hall of Fame, and she was selected for the National Association of Corporate Directors’ Directorship 100™. Joele is:

A Trusted Advisor

For more than 30 years, Joele has been a trusted advisor to her clients, counseling executive teams and Boards of Directors in managing through highly complex and delicate events. Having played a major role in more than 3,000 special situations, Joele understands the impact communications has on corporate reputation and the ability to achieve overall business objectives. While best known for her work in M&A and activism defense, Joele is proud to have built a broad-reaching firm that provides best-in-class support to clients across practice areas, including crisis, restructuring and bankruptcy, litigation, ESG, and investor and public relations.

A Seasoned Professional

Joele has advised on many of the highest profile friendly and unsolicited M&A campaigns, including: Broadcom in its acquisition of VMware; Kansas City Southern in its acquisition by Canadian Pacific and unsolicited offer from Canadian National; HP in its defense against Xerox and Carl Icahn; Time Warner in its defense against 21st Century Fox; Verizon in its acquisition of Vodafone’s 45% stake in Verizon Wireless; US Airways in its merger with American Airlines; SIRIUS in its merger with XM; PeopleSoft in its defense against Oracle; and the William R. Hewlett Trust in its opposition to the HP-Compaq merger.

Joele has defended more companies against big-name activist shareholders than anyone else, challenging Carl Icahn over 30 times, Starboard over 40 times, and Pershing Square over 10 times. Notable assignments include: DuPont, State Street, and Family Dollar against Trian; Allergan, Procter & Gamble, Herbalife, General Growth Properties, and Target against Pershing Square; Hertz, Family Dollar, Oshkosh, Clorox, and Lionsgate against Carl Icahn; and Colgate-Palmolive, Sony, Sotheby’s, and Yahoo! against Third Point.

Joele has also advised Boards and management teams on matters of governance and succession, including Phil Knight, co-founder NIKE, on his ownership, leadership, and ultimate transition to Chairman of NIKE.

A Strong Advocate 

Joele works fearlessly and tirelessly to ensure her clients’ stories are resonating with the right audiences, leveraging her deep relationships with the print, broadcast, and online business media as well as the analyst and arbitrageur communities.

Earlier in her career, Joele served as Vice Chairman of Abernathy MacGregor Frank, where she led the firm’s M&A and crisis communications practices, and as a Managing Director at Ogilvy Adams & Rinehart, a corporate and financial public relations firm. Before that, Joele worked closely with the investment community as part of AT&T’s treasury department, including during the breakup of the Bell System. She began her corporate career as a senior financial analyst at Allied Chemical. Joele previously specialized in DNA replication as a research biochemist at the State University of New York at Stony Brook.

Joele received an A.B. in chemistry from Mount Holyoke College and an M.B.A. in finance from Long Island University. She is on the Board of Directors of the Paradigm for Parity® coalition, an organization dedicated to addressing the systemic gender and racial gaps in the corporate sector, as well as The Museum at FIT. She is also a member of The Committee of 200 and the Financial Women’s Association.