W.K. Kellogg Foundation names CEO


La June Montgomery Tabron. Courtesy W.K. Kellogg Foundation

Growing up in a family of 10 children in inner-city Detroit, the new CEO of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation knows first-hand the “day-to-day challenges” facing the children and families her $8-billion organization seeks to help.

Promoted from within 

La June Montgomery Tabron started with the 83-year-old foundation 26 years ago as a financial controller, working her way up to executive VP of operations and treasurer.

On Jan. 1, 2014, Tabron will reach the foundation’s highest position, when she becomes its 12th president and CEO, making her the first African-American woman to ever hold the title.

The Battle Creek-based foundation, founded in 1930, was first endowed by cereal pioneer W.K. Kellogg and his $66-million fortune. The foundation helps vulnerable children in the world reach their full potential. It made about $380 million in new grant commitments in the 2011-2012 fiscal year.

Tabron was selected after a global search that identified “outstanding candidates” from the U.S. and abroad, said Rod Gillum, chair of the WKKF board.

“La June emerged as our new leader, because of her strengths in so many areas of the foundation and her deep and unwavering commitment to the foundation’s mission, vision and values,” Gillum said.

Gillum said that, as EVP, Tabron has collaborated with the foundation’s leadership team to develop and implement foundation programs with “a deep understanding of grantees' local knowledge and needs of their community.”

“She has shown that she knows how to strike a balance between the board, staff and grantees, all while holding our high standard for impact,” Gillum said.

La June Montgomery Tabron

Tabron said she’s "pleased to have this opportunity to serve and to lead this wonderful foundation to make a difference in the lives of vulnerable children.”

“In so many ways, my own journey illustrates the power and impact of what is possible with the right conditions,” Tabron said.

Tabron is a certified public accountant and management accountant.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Michigan and a master's degree in business administration from the Kellogg Graduate School of Management at Northwestern University.

Tabron has been active on regional boards, as president of the board of the Western Michigan University Foundation and as a board member of the Michigan-based Bronson Healthcare group.

Sterling Speirn

Tabron was named to the position after the resignation of president and CEO Sterling Speirn, who’s stepping down on Dec. 31 after about eight years of service.

Speirn called Tabron “a perfect choice” to lead the foundation.

“She has been a co-architect of the foundation’s strategy, and she has done it with great skill, grace and leadership,” Speirn said. “The board’s decision to choose ‘home-grown’ talent speaks volumes about La June’s ability to lead the implementation of this work.” 

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