While earning his J.D. (cum laude) at Harvard Law School, Ralph Pitts clerked at King & Spalding, a première Atlanta legal firm, and then continued with them as a successful trial lawyer for nearly two decades. Starting as an Associate and advancing to Partner, he was a Litigation Team Leader and member of the Firm Management Committee.
A North Carolina native, Ralph returned to Charlotte in 1995 to become General Counsel for Belk Stores, a chain of 300 department stores spanning 16 states with $4B revenues. He began with responsibility for Belk’s legal and tax departments, and later added internal audit, real estate, architecture and store planning, corporate communications, community relations, shareholder services, corporate governance, and board management. He led a challenging merger of 112 separate legal entities into a single corporation in 1998 and was the point man on three significant acquisitions. In 2015, he led the negotiation and sale of Belk to a private equity firm for $3B.
Ralph has extensive experience and a deep passion for serving on boards, both for profit and not-for- profit. At Belk, he managed the board: recruiting members, addressing issues, and meeting SEC reporting requirements, giving him the extensive corporate governance experience required by the SEC. He also has many years of community board experience with the Boy Scouts of America—Mecklenburg Council (President of a 70-member Board, Council Attorney, CFO, and himself an Eagle Scout); Central Piedmont Community College (Board of Trustees and Chairman of the Board for ten years); Wachovia Bank (Charlotte Board of Advisors); and the Church at Charlotte (two terms as Board Chair).
Ralph and his wife, Lynn, have been married for 37 years and have been active in the Church at Charlotte for two decades. She is a successful entrepreneur, Bible study leader and event planner, and is herself on the board of the Barnabas Center. They have five adult children (including triplets) and three grandchildren, and enjoy time away at their second home in North Carolina’s mountains. Ralph is a big sports fan and plays tennis and golf.