In-house career changes

Notable moves in the corporate legal world

GC Appointments

Allianz Life Insurance Co. promoted Gretchen Cepek to general counsel, replacing outgoing Chief Legal Officer Maureen Phillips. In her new role, Cepek will act as chief legal adviser for the executive management team, and will oversee litigation, corporate governance, product development, special investigations and government relations. Cepek joined the insurer in 2009 from Woodbury Financial Services Inc. She formerly spent 12 years in the complex commercial litigation practice at Querrey & Harrow.

Steven Worth joined SilkRoad Technology Inc. as executive vice president, general counsel and secretary. As GC, Worth will help manage compliance, risk management and corporate transactions for the software provider. Worth previously served as vice president, general counsel and secretary at Diamond Management & Technology Consultants Inc.

Sharon R. Barner, a former official in the U.S. Department of Commerce, joined Cummins Inc. as vice president and general counsel. From 2009 to 2011, Barner served as deputy undersecretary of commerce for intellectual property and deputy director of the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Before joining Cummins, she returned to her former law firm, Foley & Lardner.

Ab Jenkins was named general counsel and secretary of Cubic Transportation Systems Inc., an integrator of payment and information technology for the mass transit industry. Jenkins joined Cubic in 2003 and most recently served as senior counsel of ethics and compliance.

Choice Hotels International Inc. appointed Simone Wu as general counsel, corporate secretary and senior vice president. She most recently served as executive vice president, general counsel and secretary for XO Communications LLC. Wu previously worked at MCI Inc. and AOL Inc., and practiced corporate transactional and communications law at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Rose Marie Glazer was hired as general counsel, senior vice president and secretary of Siemens Corp. in the Americas. Glazer—the first woman to serve as general counsel for Siemens’ U.S. operations— joined the electronics giant in 2004 as associate general counsel and chief compliance officer at Siemens PLM. She previously held in-house positions at Telvista Inc., Allied Riser Communications Corp. and American Airlines Inc.

David Sharpe joined the private investment firm ROI Management Ltd. as general counsel. Sharpe will manage the company’s legal and regulatory affairs and lead its compliance department. Before joining ROI, he acted as vice president and chief compliance officer at CI Financial Corp./Assante Wealth Management Ltd. He also served as director of investigations for the Mutual Dealers Fund Association of Canada.

Marc Firestone returned to Philip Morris International Inc. (PMI) as its general counsel after eight years at Kraft Foods Inc. While at Kraft, he oversaw the company’s takeover of confectioner Cadbury in 2010. In his previous stint at PMI, he served as senior vice president and general counsel. He replaces outgoing PMI GC David Bernick, who left the tobacco giant to pursue outside opportunities.

Biopharmaceutical company Novamax Inc. named John A. Herrmann III vice president and general counsel. Herrmann joined the company in 2010 and most recently served as executive director of legal affairs and corporate secretary. He has also held in-house positions at Ore Pharmaceuticals, Celera Genomics and Baxter Healthcare.

Claudia Levitas joined Hooters of America as chief legal officer and general counsel. Levitas brings years of experience in the restaurant industry, including time at Huddle House Inc., a diner concept based in Atlanta, where she held the titles of general counsel and chief administrative officer.

Shawn G. Lisle was named vice president and deputy general counsel of Kaman Corp., an aerospace and industrial distribution company. In 2011, Lisle joined the corporation as associate general counsel focusing on compensation, benefits and employment. His prior experience includes postings at International Paper Co., Dana Corp. and the U.S. Department of Justice Tax Division.

Arbor Pharmaceuticals Inc., an Atlanta-based pharmaceutical company, appointed Leslie Zacks as its general counsel and chief compliance officer. Zacks was the executive vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer of Shionogi Pharma Inc. for six years. From 2002 to 2004, he was a partner in the intellectual property department of Hunton & Williams.

After several years away, Nils Okeson is rejoining Arby’s Restaurant Group Inc. as its general counsel and chief development officer. Okeson originally was appointed as GC of Arby’s in 2005, and then became GC of Wendy’s after it joined with Arby’s in 2008. Roark Capital Group acquired Arby’s in 2011 and separated it from Wendy’s. Okeson also will serve on the company’s Leadership Team.

Integra Telecom Inc. named Karen Clauson as its senior vice president and general counsel. Clauson, who has more than 15 years of experience in the telecommunications industry, joined Integra in 2007 through the company’s acquisition of Eschelon Telecom. She previously served as Integra’s vice president of law and policy. In her new capacity, she will direct the company’s legal and regulatory activities.

Michelle A. Russell rejoined YRC Worldwide Inc. as general counsel, executive vice president and secretary. Russell worked for 12 years as the company’s vice president-legal and assistant general counsel. Most recently, she was GC of Spirit AeroSystems Inc.

 

Other In-House Moves

Skullcandy Inc. announced the retirement of its general counsel and chief financial officer Mitch Edwards. Edwards, who will continue to consult for the company on an as needed basis, joined the headphone and apparel designer in 2010. He also has served as GC and CFO of BitTorrent Inc. and several other technology companies.

Cynthia Baldwin, general counsel for Pennsylvania State University, left the post she created after two years. A spokesperson for Penn State said Baldwin’s departure is unrelated to the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal. Baldwin had previously served as a Pennsylvania Supreme Court justice from 2006 to 2008.

Masonite International Corp. is on the hunt for a new general counsel after senior vice president, corporate secretary and GC Matthew M. Clark announced his retirement. Clark will remain with the company until a replacement is found.

Allen Lo joined Google Inc.’s team of in-house patent experts as deputy general counsel. Lo will be responsible for patent licensing and litigation for the online giant. He was formerly the vice president and deputy general counsel at Juniper Networks Inc.

Farrah Pepper joined General Electric Co. as executive counsel for discovery. In this capacity, she will act as GE’s legal expert on discovery strategies and processes for litigation. Pepper previously was of counsel at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher, where she also served as vice chair and a founder of the firm’s e-discovery practice group.

Robert Connolly, general counsel of BlackRock Inc. retired after 15 years at the money management firm, and was replaced on an interim basis by senior adviser Matthew Mallow. Mallow joined the company 18 months ago, but has worked with the company’s asset manager since BlackRock’s initial public offering in 1999. He was formerly partner at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

 

Law Firm News

Marc Lackner joined Reed Smith’s San Francisco office as a partner in the Financial Industry Group. Lackner previously spent 15 years at Bank of America Corp., where he served as a senior counsel overseeing consumer real estate litigation, and as an associate general counsel managing the mortgage litigation group.

SNR Denton hired former Freddie Mac deputy GC Lisa Ledbetter as a partner in its financial institutions regulatory practice. While at the home funding company, Ledbetter advised clients on regulatory and legislative actions affecting Freddie Mac. Previously, Ledbetter worked at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation.

Jim Barnette rejoined Steptoe & Johnson as a partner after a stint in the public sector. Barnette, who served as general counsel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was a partner at the firm from 2007 to 2011. He will focus on energy, environmental law, telecommunications and health care.

Joseph W. La Barge, the former vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer at Tengion Inc., rejoined Ballard Spahr’s business and finance department. In his new role, he will represent clients in the technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. La Barge was an associate at Ballard Spahr before serving as assistant GC at PMA Capital Corp.

Please send all promotions, career changes, hires and awards to jbeck@insidecounsel.com.

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