Lara Warner

Risk & Controls Executive, Finance & Business Strategist
Board Member, Penn State Smeal College of Business Board of VisitorsLara Warner2.png

Lara Warner '88 is a versatile executive with experience across corporate and financial services firms in roles spanning finance, business leadership, technology, risk, and controls. She has a career history of partnering with CEOs and presidents to develop growth strategies and ensure optimal investments while maintaining focus on revenue expansion, operational enhancement, and enterprise-wide fiscal health. Recognized for high integrity and impactful leadership in purpose-driven global environments, Lara guides diverse teams through challenging scenarios while gaining buy-in, fostering comradery, and generating high performance.

Lara navigated a nearly 20-year career with Credit Suisse, where she was an Executive Board member for six years. She most recently served as Group Chief Risk & Compliance Officer, first overseeing global risk management and then leading the newly combined Risk & Compliance function. Here, Lara designed and revised organizational structure and technology strategy, improved governance and alignment on key risks across divisions, upgraded talent, and simplified operations.

Prior, as Chief Compliance and Regulatory Affairs Officer, Lara led the separation of Compliance from Legal and successfully launched a new 2,000+ employee organization. During this time, she significantly enhanced skills development, implemented a leading technology and data platform to effectively manage client and portfolio risks, addressed significant legacy risk by exiting high-risk clients and improving compliance processes, and led engagement with global regulatory stakeholders and key investors.

Previously, Lara served as COO and CFO of Credit Suisse’s Global Investment Bank. Through this tenure, she focused on establishing business and operational risk controls, managing bank operations, leading transformation efforts, overseeing the Finance division, and driving investor relations. Among a vast range of successes, key highlights included: implementing a three-year strategic financial plan for the IB, establishing clear accountability and a consistent approach for controls, reinvigorating the Operational Risk Committee, enhancing the quality of RCSAs, and achieving $1.9B of cost reductions. Lara was a member of the Investment Bank Operating Committee and IB Management Committee and regularly participated in Board of Directors Risk Committee meetings.

Lara’s earlier roles with Credit Suisse include Director of Global Fixed Income Research, Director of Equity Research, and Senior Equity Research Analyst for the Wireline and Wireless Telecommunications and Cable and Satellite industries.

Prior to Credit Suisse, Lara served in various analyst roles for Lehman Brothers as well as finance, operational, and investor relations roles with AT&T.

A trusted advisor and thought leader, Lara contributes expertise and leadership as a member of various nonprofit boards, including the Women’s Leadership Board and Dean’s Executive Committee at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government; the Aspen Institute’s Business and Society and Communication and Society Programs; and The Pennsylvania State University’s Smeal College of Business Board of Directors.

Lara holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Finance, with an emphasis on Securities and Portfolio Management, from The Pennsylvania State University.