The legal team at NASA is ready to blast off with Sumara Thompson-King at the helm. Thomson-King previously served as the agency’s deputy general counsel, and she has been with NASA since 1986 in a variety of different roles, including associate general counsel for the contracts, procurement and acquisition integrity group; deputy associate general counsel for contracts; and a senior attorney handling cases for the General Services Administration Board of Contract Appeals. She will succeed Michael Wholley, who will retire from the position of general counsel after 10 years.
Nerves of steel? That’s no problem for Joseph Alter, who has been promoted to the general counsel position at AK Steel. Alter, just 37, joined AK Steel as corporate counsel in 2009. He was then named chief compliance officer in 2011 and assistant general counsel, corporate (in addition to chief compliance officer) in 2012. In his new position, Alter will still head up the department’s compliance division, as well as take control of the company’s environmental affairs. Before AK Steel, Alter worked in-house at Convergys Corporation, as well as with the law firm Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL.
Amy Fliegelman Olli holds plenty of in-house experience, including an 18-year stint at IBM that ended with the title of vice president and general counsel for the Americas and Europe. That experience gave Avaya Inc., a communication solutions company, all the reason it needed to name her as the company’s newest general counsel. As noted by the Women, Influence and Power in Law Network (WIPL), Olli previously served as general counsel of CA Technologies. In addition to Olli, Avaya also brought on Andrea Cunningham as director of marketing. “Education and experience are critical for any executive, but it’s the unique, innate qualities of the individual that drive to success in this fast-paced, changing industry,” said Avaya President and CEO Kevin J. Kennedy. “Amy and Andy have each demonstrated those qualities throughout their respective careers.”
From one highly regulated industry to another, in-house veteran Brad Lerman has left his job as Fannie Mae general counsel in order to take the top legal job at medical technology leader Medtronic, Inc. Lerman will hold the title of senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary with the company, and he officially began working on May 27. Prior to Fannie Mae, Lerman also served as chief litigation counsel at Pfizer and as a federal prosecutor for the U.S. Department of Justice. “I am pleased to name Brad to this important executive position at Medtronic,” said Medtronic CEO Omar Ishrak. “He brings strong leadership skills, litigation expertise and business acumen, which will serve him well as he takes on this role leading the global legal and government affairs teams.”
U.S. universities are big business these days — just take a look at the cost of tuition if you don’t believe me. And with big business comes a need for a general counsel who can handle the load, and the University of Chicago believes it has one such person in Kimberly P. Taylor. Taylor will assume the role of vice president and general counsel after working two years as a partner of Hilton & Bishop P.C., in Falmouth, Mass. Prior to working on Cape Cod, Taylor was an equity partner of Kirkland & Ellis. She will replace Beth A. Harris, who WIPL notes is “developing and leading a new practice area in the Office of Legal Counsel” to better support the university. “Kim is a widely recognized and accomplished attorney, who will bring these capabilities to bear for the university in an increasingly complex environment,” said University of Chicago President Robert J. Zimmer.
Affiliated Managers Group (AMG), a global asset management company, believes it has an asset leading its legal department with the appointment of David M. Billings as general counsel and executive vice president. Billings comes to AMG from the London office of Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP, where he led the investment funds practice group as a partner. Billings will succeed John Kingston, III in the position on June 30. “His broad understanding of the asset management business, combined with his extensive work in the corporate and government arenas, make him ideally suited to serve as our General Counsel,” said AMG CEO Sean M. Healey in a statement. “David will be a tremendous asset to our team and we look forward to his contributions to the company’s continued growth.”
For more recent in-house moves to know, check this rundown of 8 more moves from May.