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Visa to promote Richey to vice chairman, hires Tullier to assume GC role

TriMet, Northern Trust, Sacramento Utility District and New Mexico State also name women general counsel

Ellen Richey, current chief legal officer, Visa

Visa to promote Richey to Vice Chairman, hires Tullier to assume GC role

Visa Inc. has outlined its general counsel succession plan, which involves promoting Ellen Richey and hiring Kelly Mahon Tullier. Richey, currently chief legal officer, chief risk officer and member of the executive committee, will continue in those roles through Sept. 30. At that time, she will become vice chairman – risk and public policy. Tullier will join Visa on June 16 from PepsiCo Inc. to become executive vice president, deputy general counsel and executive committee member. On Oct. 1, Tullier will succeed to the role of executive vice president and general counsel.

“We are thrilled to have Kelly join the Visa team and to create the opportunity for Ellen to guide us through this critical time in the evolution of the payment system,” said Charlie Scharf, Visa’s CEO in a statement. “Kelly’s extensive global and broad leadership experience will be a great complement to our outstanding legal team.”

Under the plan, the chief risk officer and the chief audit executive will report directly to Richey, who will also lead a newly created function responsible for public policy at Visa. She will also be responsible for coordinating global crisis management at the executive level.

Tullier has been PepsiCo’s senior vice president and deputy general counsel, managing the global legal teams supporting the businesses around the world, and centralized teams responsible for mergers and acquisitions, intellectual property, regulatory, litigation, environmental, and procurement legal work. Prior to that role, she was senior vice president and general counsel for PepsiCo’s Asia, Middle East & Africa Sector, based in Dubai, where she managed legal issues in over 70 countries.

Prior to joining Visa, Richey worked was Senior Vice President of Enterprise Risk Management and executive vice President of cards services at Washington Mutual Inc. Before that, she served as vice chairman of Providian Financial Corp. 

Shelley Devine

Devine rides promotion to TriMet GC appointment

After serving for six months as the interim general counsel for the transit system serving Portland, Ore., Shelley Devine has been named general counsel. As GC, Devine will continue to lead the legal department and advise the general manager and TriMet board of directors.

“Shelley’s knowledge of the agency and expertise in litigation and labor law are invaluable to the organization,” said TriMet General Manager Neil McFarlane. “She provides both a thoughtful and practical perspective on TriMet’s legal matters. She’s a terrific addition to my team.”

In March 2008, Devine joined TriMet in 2008 as senior deputy general counsel, focusing on labor, employment and operations. Prior to joining the agency, Devine served as in-house counsel for KinderCare and Hollywood Video. Before going in-house, she was a partner in the San Francisco office of Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal.

According to TriMet, Devine is a native Oregonian who regularly rides the transit system to work. She received her J.D. from the University of California, Berkeley.

Susan Levy

Jenner’s Levy moves to Northern Trust as EVP and GC 

Susan C. Levy, managing partner at Jenner & Block LLP, has moved in-house for the first time to become executive vice president and general counsel of the Northern Trust Corp. Levy replaces Kelly R. Welsh, who was recently confirmed by the U.S. Senate as general counsel at the U.S. Department of Commerce. 

“Susan is valued by our clients and our partners for her sound business judgment, strong legal skills and exceptional leadership capabilities. She embodies our firm’s core values and has helped us build a world-class organization known for its trial, litigation and transactional capabilities. While we are very sad to see her leave the firm, we are exceedingly proud of what she has accomplished. She will be missed,” said Anton R. Valukas, chairman of Jenner & Block, in a statement. 

Levy, a litigator who has spent her entire legal career at Jenner & Block, had been managing partner since July 2008. She also served on the firm’s Policy Committee and chaired the firm’s Management Committee. 

Laura Lewis

Sacramento Utility District promotes Lewis to GC

Laura Lewis, formerly chief assistant general counsel, has been named general counsel at the Sacramento Municipal Utility District. Lewis, a 14-year veteran of the district, was appointed by SMUD board of directors to replace Arlen Orchard, who has been named general manager and CEO.

“I am honored and grateful to be chosen by the board of directors to be SMUD’s general counsel and to succeed Arlen Orchard, who ran our legal department for 13 years,” said Lewis in a statement. “I look forward to delivering for our customers as SMUD and the utility industry face ever-increasing challenges in the years ahead.”

“Laura’s experience in SMUD’s legal department, working closely with the board and with Arlen, made her the clear choice to be SMUD’s top lawyer,” said Genevieve Shiroma, board president of SMUD. “She is an experienced corporate and regulatory counsel with a proven track record of providing the legal expertise needed for SMUD to meet its business objectives and remain a leader in the utility industry.”

Lewis joined SMUD in 1997 as a staff attorney and served in that capacity through 1999. After going into private practice for several years with Davis Wright Tremaine, she returned to SMUD in 2002 and served as a senior attorney through 2010. She served as assistant general counsel through 2012 before becoming chief assistant general counsel in 2013.

As chief assistant general counsel, Lewis oversaw legal matters related to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC), wholesale markets and transmission. She served as chair of the Energy Regulatory Task Force (ERTF) of the Large Public Power Council (LPPC), which involved negotiating and crafting strategic positions among disparate public power members and representing LPPC interests before FERC and NERC. 

Lizbeth Ellis

New Mexico State names Ellis GC

Lizbeth Ellis is leaving the classroom to head up the legal functions at New Mexico State University. Ellis, currently interim associate dean for academics at NMSU’s College of Business, has been named general counsel effective July 1.

“Liz Ellis is a knowledgeable and skilled attorney as well as an outstanding Aggie,” President Garrey Carruthers said in a statement. “Her managerial and legal expertise will help in guiding the university in a wide range of legal and policy issues. She also is familiar with NMSU, having spent the past 25 years teaching and mentoring students here. It won’t take any time at all for her to get up to speed as general counsel.”

Ellis has been a professor of business law at NMSU since 1989. In 2004, she became head of the Department of Finance in NMSU’s College of Business. In 2013, she was named the college’s interim associate dean for academics.

Ellis earned a bachelor’s in business administration from NMSU and her law degree from Arizona State University.




Contributing Author

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Amy I. Stickel

Amy I. Stickel has extensive experience covering the legal, financial and pharmaceutical industries as a writer and editor. A past managing editor of Corporate Legal Times and...

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