Lisa M. Fairfax is a nationally-recognized expert in financial services, securities, capital markets, regulatory systems, board oversight of shareholder engagement, and corporate governance, and has a deep appreciation for board oversight of, and the development of best board practices related to, these matters. Lisa currently serves on the Board of the Franchise Group, Inc. (NASDAQ:FRG), a public company that owns franchised and franchisable businesses, and is Chair of their Nominating and Governance Committee.
Lisa is the Presidential Professor of Law and Co-director of the Institute for Law & Economics (ILE) at the University of Pennsylvania Carey Law School. Lisa was an appointed member of the Investor Advisory Committee of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) for five years where she helped advise the SEC on the regulation of securities products, delivery of financial services, trading strategies, disclosure effectiveness, and other initiatives designed to promote investor confidence and the integrity of the securities marketplace. Lisa has served on the NASDAQ Market Regulation Committee of the Financial Industry Regulation Authority (FINRA), where she helped provide input on financial services, market regulation, and market trading issues. Lisa also was a member of the FINRA National Adjudicatory Council, which reviews initial decisions rendered in disciplinary and membership proceedings of FINRA’s registered broker-dealer firms and registered brokers. In each of these roles, Lisa gained a deep understanding of risk management in these areas, and how best to align board practices with the expectations, demands, and changes related to financial services, capital markets, the securities industry, and the regulatory environment.
In 2015, President Barack Obama nominated Lisa to serve as a Commissioner of the SEC. Her nomination was approved by the Senate Banking Committee just prior to the presidential election of 2016, but expired at the end of the Obama administration before receiving a Senate floor vote.
One of the nation’s leading experts in board-shareholder engagement, Lisa has extensive expertise in board oversight and risk management associated with shareholder activism, as well as expertise in developing board engagement practices that align with 21st Century shareholder expectations and demands. In addition to her role on the SEC’s Investor Advisory Committee, Lisa has authored a book on these matters and is a sought-after speaker by national and international business industry groups on this topic.
Lisa is Chair of the Board of Georgetown Day School (GDS), a leading private K-12 school in Washington, D.C. In addition to her previous roles as Vice Chair and member of the Executive and Finance Committees at GDS, Lisa has served as Chair of the Board Governance Committee and Chair of the Diversity Committee. Lisa also sits on the Board of DirectWomen, a nonprofit focused on increasing the presence of women on public company boards. At DirectWomen, Lisa serves on the Finance and Audit Committee, and previously served as Co-Chair of the DirectWomen Board Institute.
Lisa also has in-depth expertise on issues impacting diversity in the corporation. As chair of the GDS Board Diversity Committee, Lisa engaged in board oversight of institution-wide diversity policies and practices, including their establishment and implementation. In addition, Lisa has served as a consultant to business entities regarding diversity policies and practices.
Before joining Penn, Lisa was the Alexander Hamilton Professor of Business Law at George Washington University School of Law where she was the founder and director of GW’s Corporate Law and Governance Initiative. Prior to GW, Lisa was a tenured professor and Director of the Business Law Program at the University of Maryland School of Law. Lisa also practiced corporate and securities law with Ropes & Gray LLP in Boston and the District of Columbia. Lisa graduated with honors from both Harvard College and Harvard Law School.