As Jenner & Block’s Executive Director and Chief Operating Officer, Meredith Mendes is responsible for providing strategic direction, financial planning and analysis and operations management for all offices. Ms. Mendes advises the firm’s Policy Committee and is a member of the Audit, Finance, Investment, Tax and Management Committees. She is focused on driving top-line growth and increasing profitability by creating efficiencies by designing and implementing new systems, process improvements and analytical tools that further the firm’s excellence in client service.
Ms. Mendes is a licensed attorney, has a master’s degree in business administration, and is an Illinois licensed Certified Public Accountant.
Ms. Mendes has extensive experience managing global finance, information technology, real estate and legal operations in professional services and manufacturing companies. Prior to joining the firm, she was Worldwide Chief Financial Officer of Daniel J. Edelman, Inc., a global public relations firm with 41 offices and 1,900 employees. She also served as CFO of Medline Industries, Inc., the largest privately owned manufacturer and distributor of health care supplies in the world; and Vice President, Public Banking, at First Chicago Capital Markets (now JP Morgan Chase), where she improved the bank’s ranking from ninth to first in the national, corporate backed tax-exempt bond segment. Ms. Mendes began her career practicing law in corporate and municipal finance in Boston.
As an Audit Committee Financial Expert and corporate governance expert, Ms. Mendes serves on public, private and nonprofit boards. She serves as an independent director and member of the audit and nominating and corporate governance committees of Quanex Building Products Corporation (NYSE: NX), a manufacturer of energy efficient fenestration products and kitchen and bath components. She is also an independent board and audit committee member of Kronos Worldwide, Inc. (NYSE: KRO), a global manufacturer of TiO2, and NL Industries, Inc. (NYSE: NL), a holding company for Kronos and CompX International, a security products and marine components manufacturer. She is an Advisor to the audit committee of CHS, Inc. (NASDAQ: CHDCL – CHDSCP Cumulative Redeemable Preferred Stock), a $32.7B integrated agricultural cooperative providing grain, food and energy resources. Previously, she served as an independent board, audit and nominating and corporate governance committee member of Inland Residential Properties Trust, Inc. (IRESI), a non-traded public multifamily housing REIT, and Inland Real Estate Corporation (NYSE: IRC), a shopping center REIT.
Ms. Mendes is Vice Chair of the Chicago Academy of Sciences and its Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum and serves on the audit and executive committees. She is a member of the AICPA, The Economic Club of Chicago, Hyde Park Angels, University of Chicago Women’s Board, Women Corporate Directors, Latino Corporate Directors Association and the National Association of Corporate Directors, where she is Board Leadership Fellow. She is a sought-after speaker on topics pertaining to law and professional services firm management including legal project management, leading organizational change, real estate management and global operations.