Kelly McNamara Corley
Class of 2017
Kelly McNamara Corley served as Executive Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary of Discover Financial Services, a leading consumer credit, payments and online banking company from 2007 to 2019. Ms. McNamara Corley’s responsibilities included serving on the firm’s 10 person Executive Committee responsible for management and strategic direction of the Company and managing the Company’s legal advisory, litigation, regulatory, and government relations matters. She has deep expertise in corporate governance, public and regulatory policy, risk management, consumer financial services and global payments and is experienced in advising and leading teams responsible for business growth, global expansion, product/market diversification, acquisitions and divestitures. Over her career, she has partnered with Discover’s CEO, Executive Management and Board members to achieve the highest revenue, profit and corporate value while fully protecting shareholder interests.
For the first 16 years of her career, she worked in various leadership roles in government relations for Sears, Dean Witter, and Morgan Stanley. As global head of government relations for Dean Witter and Morgan Stanley, Ms. McNamara Corley developed and executed strategies to repeal statutory growth and activities restrictions impacting the firms. She provides valuable insights to senior management as well as key clients on public policy developments in Washington DC.
Her ability to innovate and build consensus facilitated a smooth transition into her role as General Counsel for Morgan Stanley’s Discover business in 1999. She led Discover through its spin-off from Morgan Stanley. In 2004, she led Discover’s efforts on an antitrust lawsuit that resulted in a $2.75 Billion payment to Discover – at the time, the third largest antitrust settlement in the U.S. In addition, she played a key leadership role in Discover’s acquisition of the PULSE debit network as well as Diners Club International payments network. Ms. McNamara Corley’s innovative, risk based approach to legal advice enabled Discover’s strong business growth while maintaining an appropriate risk profile and strong regulatory relations.
Under Ms. McNamara Corley’s leadership, Discover’s legal department was recognized for Pro Bono initiatives, Diversity and Inclusion, and Innovation.
In 2019 she founded ‘The Red Bee Group LLC”- a consulting firm that helps organizations develop sustainable diversity and inclusion and organizational excellence initiatives. Ms. McNamara Corley serves as an independent Director on the boards of Goldman Sachs Bank USA (Audit Committee Member) and Rush University Medical Center (Audit Committee and Community Affairs Committee). She was appointed by the Governor of Virginia to serve a four-year term on the Board of Visitors of George Mason University (Secretary and Audit Committee Chair).
Ms. McNamara Corley earned her bachelor’s degree in Political Science from the University of Southern California and her J.D. from the Antonin Scalia Law School at George Mason University. She also earned an Honorary Doctor of Laws degree from George Mason University. She is a member of the Chicago Network, Women Corporate Directors and Women in Housing & Finance. She currently serves on the boards of non-profits Cristo Rey St. Martin College Prep, Midwest Young Artists Conservatory and Nuestros Pequenos Hermanos.