CEO Perspective: From IPO to Fortune 500 And a “Great Place to Work”
A Conversation with Ed Heffernan, Retired President and CEO, Alliance Data Systems
Few CEO’s have the privilege of leading the same business through every stage of the corporate lifecycle, from private to IPO to Fortune 500. This was Ed Heffernan’s experience in his 18 years with Alliance Data, and over a decade as the company’s CEO. After going public in 2001 through his retirement in 2019, the stock increased over 1000 percent. Join us for this compelling conversation on April 14, 2020 to hear Ed Heffernan’s perspective on board governance, regulatory relationships, change management, succession planning and the importance of attracting and retaining top talent.
Ed Heffernan has been responsible for growing Alliance Data into an S&P 500 and Fortune 500 company that has ranked in the top 1% of corporations in terms of shareholder return since he led its initial public offering in 2001. He joined Alliance Data in May 1998 as vice president of mergers and acquisitions, after holding similar positions with First Data and Citicorp, and in corporate finance with CS First Boston (now Credit Suisse). In 2000, he assumed the position of Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer for Alliance Data. His promotion to President and CEO in 2009 occurred in the midst of the Great Recession, a period during which he not only guided the company through the economic storm but delivered growth despite the macroeconomic downturn. Ed is the architect of the Company’s unique business model, which, through its three businesses, offers a full suite of data-driven, targeted marketing solutions through three primary lines of business balanced to navigate through economic cycles, delivering consistent strong financial performance.
As he continues to grow the business, Ed is also committed to continuously raising the company’s corporate responsibility goals, with the belief that Alliance Data must deliver beyond financial performance to maintain its reputation as a responsible corporate citizen. He is a champion of the Company’s corporate giving efforts. An active community advocate for children’s health and education, Ed serves on the board of directors for Children’s Health System of Texas. He is also a member of the board and Long-Range Planning Committee of the Shelton School, a Dallas private school for children with learning differences. He supports the Plano Independent School District (PISD) Foundation in the North Texas area, and is a member of the PISD CEO Council. Additionally, Ed serves as a trustee for campus affairs at Wesleyan University and is a member of the Board of Overseers for Columbia Business School. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Economics from Wesleyan University, and an MBA from Columbia Business School. Ed is married with two children.