The Women to Watch: No. 14, Synovus' Liz Wolverton
Chief Strategy Officer, Synovus Financial
Synovus Financial is widely regarded as one of the industry’s most admired companies, and it is largely up to Liz Wolverton to ensure that it does not rest on its laurels.
As chief strategy officer at the $31 billion-asset Synovus, Wolverton works closely with all business lines and finance teams to prioritize investments, refine products and services, evaluate acquisitions and other growth opportunities and manage third-party partnerships, all with an eye toward building on its strong reputation.
Among her chief responsibilities is serving on the five-person committee that decides which projects get funded. Last year the group signed off on $125 million of investments in capital and tech projects, up from $100 million in 2015.
Wolverton also heads up a new project management office, which she established last year to ensure these projects are implemented on time and within budget and are on pace to deliver projected returns. Perhaps the biggest project she is overseeing at the moment is an overhaul of Synovus’ wealth management business, and she is pulling in resources from around the company to keep the project on track.
Under Wolverton’s direction, Synovus is committing resources and energy into developing a formal diversity and inclusion strategy to improve its ability to attract and retain talent and serve a rapidly diversifying population.
The program is just getting off the ground, but Wolverton said that once it is fully in place it will set clear targets for diversifying the workforce at all levels and will hold management and the board accountable for hitting those targets.
“As with any business imperative, real progress requires a clear goal, a strategy and accountability for meaningful results,” she said. “Is it a priority on the CEO’s agenda? If not, it will be difficult to get the focus and investment required to make a difference.”