James F. Stern, EVP, General Counsel & Secretary


2020.08 SternJim Stern joined A. O. Smith Corporation as executive vice president, general counsel and secretary on June 1, 2007. He is responsible for overseeing the corporation’s legal, governance, compliance, securities law and government relations functions, and he spends a significant portion of his time on corporate development and the company’s global water treatment business. 

Jim joined the company after 15 years with Foley & Lardner LLP of Milwaukee where he was a partner, providing legal services and advice for a wide range of public and private companies.  Prior to joining Foley & Lardner, Jim was an associate with Latham & Watkins LLP of Chicago from 1989 until 1992.  He also served as a law clerk under Pasco M. Bowman II, senior judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit in Kansas City, MO.

Jim currently serves on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM) and Milwaukee Water Council. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of Jason Industries, Inc., a global manufacturer with four segments: seating, furnishing, components, and automotive acoustics, and the Polar Ware Company, a privately-held manufacturer of restaurant wares and beverage dispensing machines from 2007 until its sale in 2012. He also currently serves on a number of charitable boards, including the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and the Fleck Foundation. 

Jim earned his BA from the University of Notre Dame and JD from Northwestern University School of Law, and he completed the Advanced Management Program at the Harvard Business School.