At its 78th Annual Dinner & Business Hall of Fame Awards, the Bay Area Council will induct retired Pillsbury CEO and Chair Emeritus Mary Cranston into the Business Hall of Fame.
The annual event honors outstanding business and philanthropic leaders that have made an indelible impact on the Bay Area. Cranston, who was named a “trailblazing attorney,” is one of the two honorees which the Bay Area Council will recognize on December 9, 2023, at the Westin St. Francis in San Fransisco.
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Following her graduation from Stanford Law School, Cranston joined Pillsbury in 1975 and began practicing antitrust litigation. She also represented clients in securities cases, advised on the economics of regulated industries and, notably, litigated over 300 class actions in state and federal court. She was elected firm Chair in 1999 and served until 2006—operating as the first female chair of an AmLaw 100 firm.
Cranston is responsible for expanding Pillsbury from its regional California base to an international firm. Two large mergers, the addition of seven offices, the development of innovative programs to increase diversity within the firm and the creation of a comprehensive client service program, which was ranked top five in the world by Fortune 500 General Counsel, are just a few of the strategic initiatives led by Cranston.
Additionally, as a mother of two, Cranston fought for family-friendly policies at Pillsbury. As a result, Pillsbury was one of three law firms ranked in the top 100 companies in the United States for working mothers.
Among many other honors, she has been named one of “The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America” by the National Law Journal, one of two “Best Law Firm Leaders in the United States” by Of Counsel, and one of the “Top 100 Lawyers in California” by The Daily Journal.
Cranston is also a “Margaret Brent Award” recipient—the American Bar Association’s most prestigious award for female lawyers.
Previously chairing the Stanford Alumni Association, the Stanford Law School Board of Visitors, and the Stanford Children’s Research Initiative, among many other private and nonprofit board positions in the last several years, Cranston currently serves as a director of Visa.