Lisa Warner Wardell
Lisa Warner Wardell
Lisa Wardell is a business executive with more than 25 years of experience managing business strategy, operations, finance, and mergers and acquisitions, while driving shareholder value, stakeholder engagement and company mission.
After a successful five-year run as the company’s president and CEO (2016 – 2019) and then CEO and Chairman (2019 – 2021), Executive Chairman (2021-2022) and Chairman (2022), Lisa currently serves as a member of the board of directors for Adtalem Global Education Inc. (NYSE: ATGE). During her tenure as CEO, Wardell oversaw the strategic repositioning of Adtalem’s portfolio, successfully acquiring and integrating companies in Adtalem’s financial services vertical, and leading turnarounds and divestitures of Adtalem’s non-core assets. Through her commitment to high performance and positive social impact, Lisa’s leadership has resulted in superior outcomes for Adtalem’s students and significant value creation for shareholders and has positioned the company for long-term growth. Under her leadership, gender and ethnic diversity increased at the Adtalem board to 67%. Wardell has also led the higher education sector in implementing new standards in transparency and financial literacy, and in cultivating quality partnerships to fill critical global workforce needs.
Prior to her current position with Adtalem, Wardell was executive vice president and chief operating officer for The RLJ Companies. During her tenure at RLJ, Wardell managed acquisitions and executed the formation of RML Automotive, a dealership network spanning seven states with over $1 billion in annual revenues. She also worked extensively in the media, entertainment, sports, gaming, and hotel industries which included assisting with the founding and managing of Our Stories Films Studio and acquisition of the Charlotte Hornets (previously Charlotte Bobcats). Wardell also served on the board of the NBAPA, Inc., the for-profit portion of the NBA Players Association from 2018 to 2021.
Prior to joining The RLJ Companies, Lisa was a principal at Katalyst Venture Partners, a private equity firm that invested in start-up technology companies, and a senior consultant for Accenture in the organization’s communications and technology strategic services practice.
Lisa earned her bachelor’s degree from Vassar College and her law degree from Stanford Law School. She earned her MBA in finance and entrepreneurial management from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. Lisa serves on the boards of American Express (NYSE: AXP) and GIII Apparel Group, Ltd. (NasdaqGS:GIII). She serves on the executive committee of The Business Council. A fierce advocate for diversity and inclusion and access to education at scale across diverse communities, Lisa also is a member of the board of the Economic Club of Chicago, the Executive Leadership Council and the Fortune CEO Initiative. Lisa has been featured on CNBC and Cheddar as well as in The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Business Insider, Black Enterprise, and other publications.