W. G. Champion Mitchell is a member of the University of North Carolina Board of Governors, a retired lawyer, and a CEO who ran two multi-billion dollar corporations and turned around several troubled companies. Most recently he was chairman and CEO of Network Solutions LLC, the leading provider of online services to small business. Mitchell joined Network Solutions in 2001, while it was part of VeriSign. In less than two years, he took Network Solutions from a cash-negative business to a growing, cash-positive business. Following this turnaround, Mitchell led the company's separation from VeriSign. in 2003. Network Solutions was sold to General Atlantic in 2007.
Prior to Network Solutions, he was executive vice president and general manager of VeriSign, a business that subsequently was sold to Symantec for $1.3 billion. From 1997-2000, he founded and sold two start-up companies, both specializing in Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP). He came to technology by heading the turnaround of True North Communications. Prior to that he successfully turned around two companies owned principally by Wesray Capital. Mitchell was on the nine-man executive team of RJR Nabisco before, during and after the famous takeover battle which led to KKR buying the company in 1989.
He started his career as a lawyer and partner with Womble Carlyle Sandridge and Rice in Winston-Salem, N.C. He was a partner in Howrey & Simon in Washington, D.C. for four years.
Mitchell received his A.B. and J. D. with high honors from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He served as an officer in the United States Navy during the Vietnam war and in the Navy Reserve for a decade after. Mitchell served both Presidents George H. W. Bush and Clinton as a member of the Presidentâ€™s Policy Advisory Committee on Trade Policy and Negotiations. He was especially active in the negotiation of NAFTA. In 2006 he receive the "Stevie" award from the American Business Awards as â€śBest Turnaround Executive in America."