Adtalem says Wardell leaving CEO role

Adtalem says Wardell leaving CEO role


Lisa Wardell, one of the country’s only Black female CEOs at a publicly traded company, will step down from Chicago-based Adtalem Global Education, officials announced today. 

Adtalem today also announced a change in strategy, shifting its focus away from financial services education and instead doubling down on health care education.

Wardell, who’s led the multinational for-profit education company for five years, has attracted national attention for rising to the top in business. She will transition to the role of executive chairman of the board of directors for one year, the company said in a news release.

Her successor, Stephen Beard, is the company’s chief operating officer and will take over as CEO on Sept. 8. He joined Adtalem in 2018 as senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary. He previously worked as an attorney in the corporate and securities group at Schiff Hardin and as executive vice president, chief administrative officer and general counsel of Heidrick & Struggles International.

Adtalem, formerly known as DeVry Education Group, has 6,500 employees and runs a handful of for-profit schools including American University of the Caribbean School of Medicine and Chamberlain University.

Adtalem said today that it will review “strategic alternatives” to the financial services institutions that it operates, which include the Association of Certified Anti-Money Laundering Specialists, Becker Professional Education and OnCourse Learning.

“No timetable has been established for the completion of the strategic review, and the company does not intend to disclose further developments with respect to its strategic review process, unless and until its board approves specific actions, or otherwise concludes the strategic review,” the company said. 

Other notable local Black female executives include Rosalind Brewer, CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance, and Mellody Hobson, president and co-CEO of Ariel Investments.

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