David Nelms (Fall ’16)

Distinguished Guest Lecturer

Chairman & CEO, Discover Financial Services

David Nelms visited campus in November of 2016. Nelms, along with former Florida senator Bob Graham and several other political, academic, and business leaders, is a member of the National Commission on Financing 21st Century Higher Education. He set aside time to meet with UF’s Office for Student Financial Affairs. He also toured the new labs at the Florida Institute for Cybersecurity Research, where custom-built microscopes are used to test credit card security. He met with engineering faculty involved in various research areas, from the Internet of Things to finding a cure for diabetes. Nelms spoke to a class in the Engineering Innovation Institute and at a seminar entitled “It Pays To Discover” at the Reitz Union. The seminar was open to engineering and business students.


About David Nelms

Nelms is the former chairman of the board of directors and CEO of Discover. As the CEO, He was responsible for all Discover-branded financial services, including credit cards, student loans, personal loans, home equity loans, CDs, money market accounts, and checking accounts. He was also responsible for the Discover Network, a comprehensive payments network that supports multiple card products, issuers, and processors; PULSE, one of the nation’s leading PIN debit networks; and Diners Club International, a global payments network. In addition, Mr. Nelms serves as Chairman of Discover Bank, the issuing bank for the Discover card brands.

Before his appointment at Discover in 1998, Mr. Nelms served as a vice chairman of MBNA America Bank. Before that, he held management positions at Progressive Insurance, General Electric Company, and Bain & Company Consulting.

Mr. Nelms holds a bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from the University of Florida and an M.B.A. from the Harvard Business School. In addition to his responsibilities with Discover, he is a member of the boards of directors of CDW Corporation, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago, and The Executives’ Club of Chicago. Mr. Nelms is a board member of Junior Achievement of Chicago, the Financial Services Roundtable, and a member of the Civic Committee of The Commercial Club of Chicago.