Frances Townsend is a longtime attorney, corporate executive and a former senior leader of the U.S. federal government.
She began her career as an assistant district attorney in Brooklyn, New York, later joining the Southern District of New York, where she focused on international organized crime and white-collar cases. Through various senior leadership positions across the Justice Department and a top intelligence role for the U.S. Coast Guard, Fran transitioned to the White House, where she served as Homeland Security Advisor to President George W. Bush from 2004 to 2008.
Prior to her current role, Fran served as vice chairman, general counsel, and chief administrative officer at MacAndrews & Forbes. Before that, she was a corporate partner with Baker Botts LLP.
Today, Fran is a senior executive of Activision Blizzard, a Fortune 500 company and one of the world’s most successful stand-alone interactive entertainment and gaming corporations. She joined Activision Blizzard (NASDAQ: ATVI) in March 2021 as chief compliance officer, executive vice president of corporate affairs and corporate secretary, overseeing government affairs, public policy, and communications, among other key corporate functions.
Fran sits on several nonprofit boards, including the Atlantic Council, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, and the Council on Foreign Relations. She serves as co-chair of CFR’s pandemic preparedness task force.
Fran graduated cum laude from the American University in 1982, where she received a B.A. in political science and a B.S. in psychology. She received her J.D. from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1984. In 1986, she attended the Institute on International and Comparative Law in London.