15 noteworthy in-house career moves

Charting some of the most recent GC and in-house appointments


GC Appointments

Former Yahoo! lawyer Belinda Johnson was hired as general counsel of Airbnb. Johnson previously was deputy general counsel at Yahoo! and oversaw legal strategy for the company’s global products, as well as its search and advertising alliance with Microsoft.


Savtira Corp. welcomed Kevin D. Astl as its general counsel. Astl previously operated his own private practice and brings more than a decade of experience to the company. He has a range of legal experience, including business and corporate law, entertainment, family, civil matters, personal injury and medical malpractice.


FordDirect named Meri Glade general counsel and chief compliance officer. Glade previously was general counsel to Pacific Ventures Law Group and provided corporate counsel services to digital, technology and manufacturing companies.


Best Doctors Inc. hired Thomas G. Seaman as senior vice president, general counsel and secretary. He formerly served as general counsel for BenefitPoint Holding Corp., Golden Source Corp. and CMA Partners.


Dean A. Manson was appointed executive vice president, general counsel and secretary of EchoStar Corp. after the company’s recent acquisition of Hughes Communications Inc., where Manson has served as general counsel since 2004. Before joining Hughes, Manson worked for Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy.


Victoria E. Fimea joined Sammons Financial Group as senior vice president and general counsel. Fimea most recently worked for Fort Dearborn Life Insurance Co., and prior to that served as senior counsel, litigation, for the American Council of Life Insurers.

Beasley 250

First Wind named Michele Beasley as senior vice president and general counsel, and will oversee the company’s legal affairs. She previously served as senior counsel at Wells Fargo Bank in San Francisco and Boston as senior legal counsel to the Securities Investment Group of its Wholesale Division.


Other In-House Moves

Former general counsel for the Defense Department’s Defense Contract Audit Agency John Farenish joined Venable as a partner in its government contracts practice. Farenish also previously worked at the Navy and Army Departments.


General counsel to the National Independent Automobile Dealers Association Keith Whann announced he will step down after serving as general counsel for 16 years. Whann received the Ring of Honor award from the association in 2002.

Furburt GouldMalcolm Furbert and Kirstin Romann Gould

Bermuda general counsel of Catlin Group Ltd. Malcolm Furbert was appointed chair of the Association of Bermuda Insurers and Reinsurers’ Policy Committee. Furbert has served as Catlin Bermuda’s chief legal officer since 2007 and succeeds Kirstin Romann Gould, the ABIR Committee chair for six years who serves as executive vice president and general counsel of XL Group Ltd.


Paula Boggs, general counsel of Starbucks, announced her retirement from the position she held for 10 years to join President Obama’s re-election campaign. Boggs will leave the coffee chain in April. She first joined Starbucks as executive vice president, general counsel and secretary in 2002.

HolstonMichael Holston

Hewlett-Packard announced general counsel Michael Holston left the company to pursue other opportunities. While the company searches for a replacement, David Healy, a partner at Fenwick & West, will act as interim general counsel. For more on Holston, read InsideCounsel’s interview with him in the April 2010 issue.


Karen Shaer was promoted to senior executive vice president of The Garden City Group Inc. and retains her general counsel title and position. She first joined the company in 2001, launching and leading the business reorganization division.

DowPaula Dow

New Jersey Attorney General Paula Dow was appointed by Gov. Chris Christie to be first deputy general counsel at the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. Chief Counsel Jeff Chiesa will take her place while she works to restructure the Port Authority, which has come under heated criticism in recent months for wasteful spending.


The Coca-Cola Company announced the retirement of Senior Vice President and General Counsel Geoffrey J. Kelly after more than 42 years of service. Kelly joined the company’s legal division in 1970 and was appointed senior vice president and general counsel in 2005. The company’s board of directors appointed Bernhard Goepelt, global leader of the company’s legal division, to succeed Kelly when he retires in February 2012.

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