News Release News Release The City of Palo Alto
Communications Department
250 Hamilton Ave
Palo Alto, CA 94301


PRESS RELEASE 03/19/2012
Subject :

Kathryn Shen Named as City of Palo Alto’s New Chief People Officer
Contact : James Keene, City Manager    650-329-2563
Palo Alto, CA – After an extensive search for a new director of the City of Palo Alto's Human Resources Department and the City's workforce initiatives, City Manager James Keene announced his selection of Kathryn (Kathy) Shen, J.D., M.B.A., as the Chief People Officer (CPO). The search for a new CPO yielded 83 applicants. After an intense review process that included two interview panels involving City department stakeholders, Palo Alto union representatives and Bay Area public sector leaders, Keene selected Ms. Shen. She will begin her new duties on April 17, 2012, with an annual base salary of $185K, pending City Council approval of her employment contract on March 19, 2012.

"We are delighted to have a person with Kathy's experience and credentials join our leadership team," said City Manager James Keene. "Her background in staff development and workforce planning will be especially important as our organization regenerates itself over the next few years."

Ms. Shen has 23 years’ experience in successfully leading mission-critical initiatives for complex, rapidly changing businesses including unionized industries. For the past five years, she has served as the Human Resource Practice Leader in Workforce Planning, Employee Development, and Diversity with Kaiser Permanente’s Northern California Regional. Ms. Shen recently published an article in People & Strategy journal, 34.2; "The Analytics of Critical Talent Management,” in which she discusses how a talent philosophy promoting skill and career development can be implemented with the help of predictive analytics.

“I’m looking forward to fostering an environment of innovation, collaboration and shared accountability to help achieve the City’s goal of becoming the best high-performing city in the US,” said Ms. Shen.

Ms. Shen is an attorney, having practiced law in Cleveland, Ohio before joining LTV Steel Corporation in labor relations and human resources. She later worked at Alcoa, Inc., Goodrich Aerospace, and ITT Industries before moving to California. 

Ms. Shen lives in Redwood Shores with her husband John, a clinical psychologist. They enjoy frequent visits with their son, his wife, and two grandsons who live in San Jose.  They have three other children, two daughters and a son, spread over London, England, New York City, and Auburn, Alabama. Ms. Shen is a graduate of Michigan State University’s James Madison School of Social Science, and she holds a Juris Doctor and M.B.A from Case Western Reserve University.