Financial and legal expert Heather Russell is set to join the TransUnion team in the role of Chief Legal Officer. Heather Russell brings her vast experience in litigation and finance to TransUnion. Her interest in and knowledge of the intersection of finance and technology make her ideally suited to the role.
Stepping in for John Blenke, who previously held the position for 15 years, Russell will bring her considerable experience to TransUnion’s legal department to help with expansion, acquisition, and mergers, among other areas. Blenke plans to retire later in the year. After his exit, Russell will take over the legal division, taking her expertise from law firms like New York’s Buckley Sandler and financial institutions like Bank of America to the respected credit reporting agency.
Russell comes highly recommended by her previous employers. Before joining the firm of Buckley Sandler in 2016, Russell held jobs as the global chief regulatory counsel of Bank of New York Mellon as well as executive vice president and chief legal officer at Fifth Third Bancorp, the 12th largest bank in America. After graduating from the College of William and Mary and getting her J.D. from American University College of Law, Russell began seeking out work that drew on her interest in law, consumer trends, and new technologies. As an adjunct professor at the Boston University School of Law, Russell consistently engages with issues surrounding the current world of banking, including the way in which new technologies, such as FinTech, are changing the way we think about money and investments. Russell’s interest in the newest cutting-edge financial technologies has consistently led her to help strengthen and grow companies through her advanced understanding of finance and law. Using current market knowledge and a keen eye for marketplace trends, Russell will guide TransUnion into a new era of success.
As one of the most widely-used credit monitoring services in the United States, TransUnion has worked to help individuals, business owners, and companies armed with real-time credit score reports and updates. Russell’s expertise in technology and finance is poised to help TransUnion retain its place on the cutting edge of financial screening technology. During her time at Buckley Sandler, Russell instituted a new initiative to help companies and individuals face frequent technological changes to banking systems and the overall market. Her initiative, known as the Financial Institutions Regulation, Supervision & Technology (FIRST) program, has allowed clients to assess risk and jumpstart growth without worrying about the evolving market. At TransUnion, Russell’s forward-thinking strategies are bound to keep the company at the forefront of technological and financial advances in the marketplace. Under the FIRST program, Russell provided clients with conservative, effective ways to initiate bank mergers and acquisitions, analyze regulation and risk, create smarter investment strategies, and use technology to make wiser choices in the global market.
A Fellow of the Salzburg Global Seminar Forum on Finance in a Changing World as well as a renowned speaker on bank regulations, licensing, and technology, Russell was recently honored by Legal 500 for her work in financial regulation. She also currently belongs to the National Women’s Law Center and is a Vice Chairman on the ABA Banking Law Committee, as well as an esteemed and vocal member of the New York and Washington, D.C., bar associations.
In her new role at TransUnion, Russell will serve on TransUnion’s Executive Committee and report directly to Jim Peck, TransUnion’s President and CEO. As concerns about data security, Internet privacy, and secure online banking become more and more relevant to TransUnion clients, Russell’s vast knowledge and experience of banking, technology, and law will serve as a crucial asset to the company as it plans for the future.