Adtalem Global Education CEO Lisa W. Wardell has been elected to join the American Express board of directors and will join the board’s risk committee.
Wardell has been president and CEO of Adtalem Global, a provider of workforce and educational services, since 2016 and was elected as chairman of its board in 2019. Wardell has been on the Adtalem board since 2008.
“Lisa has extensive experience leading large-scale business transformations, and successfully executing portfolio repositionings in the financial services sector through strategic partnerships, business development and mergers and acquisitions,” Stephen J. Squeri, chairman and CEO of American Express, said in a press release. “She also brings her strong expertise in implementing and advancing diversity at global companies, along with her prior regulatory and investment experience, all of which will be key assets for our board.”
Wardell led the acquisition and integration of companies in Adtalem’s financial services vertical, including ACAMS, a membership organization for anti-financial-crime professionals globally, as well as the turnaround and sale of Adtalem’s non-core assets. She has also focused the company on enhancing the diverse representation of its senior leadership and board.
Before joining Adtalem, Wardell was executive vice president and COO of the RLJ Cos., a strategic investment firm, where she was responsible for strategic partnerships, M&A and operations. She previously served as a principal at the private-equity firm Katalyst Venture Partners; a senior consultant in Accenture’s communications and technology strategic services practice; and as an attorney in the commercial wireless division of the Federal Communications Commission.
Wardell is the only Black female chairman and CEO in the S&P 400 MidCap Index, according to Adtalem company records. Adtalem had $1.1 billion in revenue for its fiscal year 2020 and generated $123.5 million in net income and earnings per share of $2.28. The company has more than 6,800 associates worldwide.
In addition to serving on the American Express board, Wardell serves on the boards of Lowe’s Home Improvement and THINK450, the innovation engine of the National Basketball Players Association. Wardell was selected by Black Enterprise magazine as one of the “300 Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America” in 2017.
Wardell has a bachelor’s degree from Vassar College, a law degree from Stanford Law School and an MBA from Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.
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