Maria Fernandez

Vice President, Head of Ethics and Compliance, Direct Energy

Maria Fernandez, JD, has extensive experience in legal, compliance, and diversity leadership roles. Professor Fernandez was vice president and head of Ethics and Compliance for Direct Energy most recently. She led ethics and regulatory compliance, including corporate compliance, investigations, risk assessments, and retail and wholesale regulatory compliance. As of the start of the fall semester, Professor Fernandez will be an adjunct professor at Fordham University School of Law, teaching a risk assessment course in the Fordham University Master of Studies in Law (MSL) program on Corporate Compliance. 

Before her position at Direct Energy, Professor Fernandez worked at IBM for 20+ years, where she held various leadership positions. She supported their hardware, software, services, research, and microelectronics divisions. Professor Fernandez was also responsible for designing and implementing IBM’s global compliance program. In addition, she supported IBM Latin America as their general counsel for seven years, managing all legal and compliance matters in the region.

Professor Fernandez received her BA in psychology from Lehman College, City University of New York, and her JD from Cornell Law School. She is admitted to the bars of the states of New York and California and the United States Supreme Court. 

Professor Fernandez is currently Chair, Membership Committee, President’s Council of Cornell Women, a member of the Houston Integrated School District, District Advisory Committee, and the Legislative Committee, Member, ACC Environmental & Sustainability Network Leadership committee, and a founder and past president of the Latino Lawyers of Cornell. She resides in Houston with her two sons.