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Lori Hardwick, ‘Entrepreneur at Heart,’ Ponders Post-Pershing Options

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When an executive announces her departure from a lofty yet demanding position, the big questions are why and where she’s going. In an interview Thursday with Lori Hardwick of Pershing, which announced yesterday that she is leaving her job as COO, she said “I’m an entrepreneur at heart,” but “I have not yet fully identified what my next venture will be.”

While Hardwick said she was “heading back to Chicago,” her next career move “may be international. I liked the international element at Pershing.” She noted that, particularly in the U.K. Australia, she “enjoyed seeing how their advisory services are evolving quicker than the U.S.,” while they shared the entrepreneurial spirit of U.S. advisors.

Why is she leaving? “It takes about a year to get into a role to see if it’s best for you,” she said, suggesting she had learned it wasn’t best for her after joining Pershing last February. She added “I want to make sure readers know that there’s no indication of trouble at Pershing,” and that her current focus “will be on helping Lisa (Dolly, Pershing’s CEO) and the team transition.”

What did she learn while at Pershing? “I’ve certainly learned how much Pershing does; it’s much broader than [my understanding] when I took the role.” In addition, Hardwick said “the talent pool here is very strong,” and that “being owned by a bank” (BNY Mellon) was a major change from her 15 years spent at Envestnet, where on the regulatory side “we only had the [Securities and Exchange Commission] to deal with.”

As for her legacy at Pershing, Hardwick cited “a lot of progress” the company had made, especially in instituting “agile  methodology” in both project management and technology development in responding to client requests. She admitted it was a “challenge for any firm” to juggle diverse client requests, but since they often arise from broader trends in the industry, “you can extrapolate” from those requests to build solutions that satisfy a broader range of clients.

“I’m really good,” she said, “at connecting the dots between various requests to determine what the common threads are.”

— Check out Lori Hardwick Leaving COO Position at Pershing on ThinkAdvisor.