May Lee

Over the last eight years, May has led two groundbreaking innovations in higher education: NYU Shanghai and ShanghaiTech. Utilizing her experience in various industries (financial services, education, and marketing), insight into entrepreneurship and deep understanding of the innovation ecosystem in China and the U.S., May offers strategic advice to large organizations on change management and digital transformation. Moreover, her ability to bridge academic research and product development gives her a unique ability to drive innovation within an organization. As a leader, May articulates a clear vision, formulates strategy, and oversees execution with attention to detail.

May received a B.A. from University of Pennsylvania and a J.D. from New York University School of Law. She was a Visiting Foreign Student of Peking University. She is a member of the World Economic Forum and the Global Future Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship. She is also a mentor for Chinaccelerator Shanghai, the Board of Directors of National Partnership for Women and Families, the Lifetime Trustee of NYU School of Law, and the Board of Directors of Chelsea Day School.

Career Highlights:

  • 25+ years of corporate and education experience leading and executing on China expansion initiatives and across a wide-range of issues including regulatory landscape, negotiating strategies, cross-cultural communication, market-entry, joint-venture structures and strategy, and talent management matters. Most recently led two groundbreaking efforts in higher-education: establishing the first undergraduate U.S. degree-granting campus in China and part of the leadership team starting a new science and technology university in China responsible for School of Entrepreneurship.
  • Leadership role in several change-management initiatives including significant firm wide efforts to streamline capital usage and legal entity management at Merrill Lynch.
  • Leader of the Merrill Lynch integration team and appointment as Co-head of Transition.
  • Proven track record of recognizing strategic growth opportunities and realizing them with an intense focus on operational excellence. Envisioned and drafted the strategic plan for the formation of the Credit Derivatives business at Goldman, Sachs; became COO of the business unit with reporting lines to the firm’s Chief Risk Officer and divisional partners (FICC) overseeing regulatory capital and balance sheet usage, credit risk; legal and technology; surpassed revenue targets by 100% in year one.
  • Ten years of experience as an attorney in the financial services sector.
  • Successful entrepreneur: double digit revenue growth at a start-up advertising agency by introducing systems, and aligning the agency with select private-equity funds.
  • Vetted candidate for Assistant Secretary of Treasury under Secretary Geithner.