Two Alumni CEOs to Speak at Commencements

Two Haas alumni CEOs–the former CEO of Jack in the Box and the CEO of networking giant Belden–are scheduled to speak at the Berkeley-Haas Undergraduate, Evening & Weekend, and Full-time MBA commencements.

Linda Lang, BS 80, retired CEO of Jack in the Box, Inc., will speak at undergraduate commencement Tuesday, May 19, at 9 a.m. at the Greek Theatre.

John Stroup, MBA 95, CEO of $2.5 billion networking and connectivity giant Belden Inc., will speak at the Full-time MBA and the Evening & Weekend MBA commencement May 22 at 2 p.m. at the Greek Theatre.

Since 2005, Stroup has served as president and CEO of St. Louis, Mo.-based Belden, a Fortune 1000 company that designs and manufactures cables, connectors, servers, and routers.

Stroup attended the Haas evening program while working full time at precision-engineering manufacturer Parker Hannifin in Rohnert Park—and raising a young family. Before joining Belden, Stroup worked as a group executive at design and manufacturing company Danaher, and as general manager at Scientific Technologies Inc. 

Belden has a rich history. Founded in 1902 by Joseph Belden, the firm started as a manufacturer of magnetic copper wire used for telephone coils. Thomas Edison was an early customer. In the past decade, Belden’s value has increased from $1 billion to $5 billion; it has made 14 acquisitions, and it has developed an active strategic-planning process. Stroup says his “measure everything” credo at Belden has brought a fresh energy to the company.

“When I arrived at Belden, I discovered there really wasn’t any strategic planning being done,” he said. “Now there is, but we’re still learning. In a planning meeting, people bring up their pet projects. I want to encourage their ideas, but I also want to help us all link our projects to the overall strategy.”

Lang joined Jack in the Box in 1984, taking on different roles in marketing, operations, and finance as she worked her way up in the company. In a 2004 interview, she recalled her first job: managing eight clerks who processed invoices for burgers, fries, and wrappers. After holding various officer positions, she was promoted to CEO in 2005.

During her tenure, Lang was one of just 28 women leading Fortune 1000 companies. As CEO, she was involved with fending off a host of fast-food competitors, developing high-quality, innovative products, increasing franchise ownership from 25 percent in 2005 to 77 percent by 2013, and improving food safety programs. She retired in January 2014.

Prior to Jack in the Box, Lang held various positions in accounting and finance at Bechtel Corp. She was named by Hispanic Business as one of its 2008 Women of the Year and a Big Brothers Big Sisters of San Diego County’s Person of the Year.

The Haas School set a policy a few years ago to invite our most distinguished alumni to speak at MBA and undergraduate commencement ceremonies. We do so to celebrate the powerful alumni network that new graduates will soon be joining, and to honor Berkeley-Haas alumni who have demonstrated innovative leadership and can speak to the benefits of Haas culture in their careers.