Nicole Kelsey is the Chief Legal Officer and Secretary to the Board of Amyris, a leading synthetic biotechnology company in the Bay Area. Currently serving in her second public company CLO role, Ms. Kelsey is a seasoned, multilingual executive with international expertise in strategy, M&A, complex commercial transactions and financings, regulatory compliance, securities investigations and litigation, and multi-jurisdictional corporate governance. Fluent in French, Spanish, and Arabic, she brings her international business experience to bear for both Fortune 500 and disruptive technology companies.
A Wall Street-trained lawyer with over 25 years of experience, Ms. Kelsey is assisting Amyris as it pivots into a CPG focused on sustainability in the clean beauty and wellness sectors. She impacts strategic change by building operations and product sales in new geographies; managing litigation and investigations; developing an international IP strategy; incorporating ESG into best corporate governance practices; building global compliance programs; and leading on DEI for Amyris.
Honored as DEI Champion in 2021 by Corporate Counsel’s Women, Influence & Power in Law Awards and awarded the 2019 Female Executive of the Year award from Databird Business Journal in March 2020, Ms. Kelsey’s leadership style is distinguished by her ability to build, develop, and inspire best-in-class teams to excellence. Half French-Algerian, she champions diversity and inclusion and spearheaded the first DEI initiative at Amyris in early 2019. Ms. Kelsey actively mentors both women and men; and as a member of the board of Amyris’s women’s group, fostered the launch of her company’s first mentoring program for women in the summer of 2020. Ms. Kelsey speaks and writes on DEI, mentoring and sponsorship, and other leadership topics in the U.S. and abroad.
Prior to joining Amyris, Ms. Kelsey was General Counsel and Secretary to Criteo, a leading advertising technology company based out of Paris and with offices in 30 cities. Before joining Criteo, she was the senior securities lawyer for Medtronic, the head M&A lawyer for CIT Group Inc., the general counsel of a private art financing fund, and the US securities and M&A lawyer for international conglomerate Vivendi. Ms. Kelsey first practiced with White & Case and Willkie, Farr & Gallagher, in New York and Paris.
Avidly interested in the arts, and an entrepreneur in her own right, Ms. Kelsey founded and operated an art gallery out of her NYC home from 2001 – 2005. A strong believer in an executive leader’s obligation to give back to the community, she served on the boards of several non-profit arts organizations from 2004 – 2014. In April 2019, she continued her commitment to pro bono work by joining the board of directors of A Window Between Worlds, a Los Angeles-based non-profit organization that provides art therapy training and resources to community outreach programs assisting women and children survivors of violence, and serves as the Chair of its Nomination and Governance Committee. And in August 2020, she joined the Board of Trustees, and was appointed the Secretary, of Wrestle Like A Girl, whose mission is to empower girls and women through the sport of wrestling to become leaders in life.
A Fulbright scholar, Ms. Kelsey has a J.D. from Northwestern Pritzker School of Law and a B.A. from The Ohio State University, and is admitted to practice law in both New York and Minnesota. Ms. Kelsey speaks four languages and is currently studying Japanese, and has reared her daughter as a bi-lingual international citizen. A native of California and a passionate surfer, Ms. Kelsey enjoys the rich intersection between the arts and the outdoors that living in San Francisco offers her family.