It’s a different company and a different industry, but the same job title for former Sunoco general counsel Stacy L. Fox. DuPont announced that Fox will be named senior vice president and general counsel, effective Oct. 1. She will be taking over for Thomas L. Sager, who will be retiring after 37 years with the company. In addition to Sunoco, Fox also worked as general counsel of Collins & Aikman and as EVP of corporate transactions and legal affairs for Visteon, both companies are in the automotive industry. “Stacy comes to us as a proven leader with exceptional experience as a lawyer and business executive. She will play an important role in supporting DuPont’s growth, and I am pleased to welcome her to the company,” DuPont Chair and CEO Ellen Kullman said in a statement.
General Mills isn’t just Cheerios – it’s a corporation with nearly 100 U.S. brands in its portfolio, riding food processing to the Fortune 500. And now, the company adds a new general counsel to its portfolio, with General Mills announcing in a Securities and Exchange Commision filing that Richard Allendorf will take over the company’s top legal role from a retiring Roderick A. Palmore on Feb. 15, 2015. Before being named GC, Allendorf previously served as the company’s vice president, deputy general counsel. Palmore was previously profiled in the March 2014 edition of InsideCounsel magazine as an industry leader through his GC roles at General Mills and Sara Lee.
A top general counsel – don’t leave home without it. However, payment card giant American Express has not had a permanent GC since August 2013, when Louise Parent stepped down from her position. That changed in mid-June, when American Express announced that Laureen E. Seeger would be named executive vice president and general counsel. Seeger recently served as GC for healthcare services company McKesson Corporation, where she dually served as chief compliance officer. “We are excited to have one of the world’s top legal leaders become general counsel of American Express. Not only is Laureen a gifted legal strategist, litigator and an expert in managing compliance and regulatory affairs, throughout her career she has first and foremost been a catalyst for business growth,” said company CEO Kenneth I. Chenault.
So if Seeger is headed to American Express, she obviously needs a replacement at Fortune 500 company McKesson. The medical services company wasted no time, announcing Lori A. Schecter as Seeger’s replacement as general counsel. Schecter has served as associate general counsel for McKesson since 2012. Before that, she worked as a litigation partner at Morrison & Foerster. “Lori is exceptionally qualified to lead our legal, public affairs and compliance functions,” said company CEO John Hammergren in a statement. “Her deep litigation expertise and proven judgment, combined with her outstanding track record of developing and managing complex legal organizations, make her the ideal person to lead McKesson’s general counsel organization as we expand globally.”
In May 2014, Bayer purchased Merck’s consumer care business for $14.2 billion. However, that money will simply be reinvested in Merck’s other holdings, and the company plans on bouncing back in a big way with Michael J. Holston in charge of the legal department. The company recently announced that Holston will take over the position of general counsel on July 1, 2015, taking over from the retiring Bruce N. Kuhlik. Holston, you may remember, stepped down as the general counsel of Hewlett-Packard in December 2011 to pursue other opportunities. "As our chief compliance officer for the past two years, Mike has advanced the function and quickly become a valued member of our executive team. I look forward to continuing to benefit from his insightful advice, deep experience and active engagement on strategic and operational issues in the key role of Merck’s general counsel,” said Merck CEO Kenneth C. Frazier in a statement.
Despite being a company that’s all about finding deals and savings, hiring a general counsel with in-house leadership is a reasonable and perhaps necessary expense for Groupon. The company did just that in hiring Dane Drobny to replace David Schellhase as general counsel. Drobny most recently served as GC of Sears Holdings Corporation, and he previously worked as a partner at Winston & Strawn. “We're excited to have Dane join us as General Counsel,” said Eric Lefkofsky, CEO of Groupon, in a statement. “His retail expertise will be a great addition to our talented senior leadership team.”
Are you a fan of American Idol? Or are you more of a Family Feud type of person? How about The Apprentice or America’s Got Talent? All of those shows have one thing in common: their rights are owned by British television company FreemantleMedia. And now, Freemantle Media also holds another key asset: former BBC Worldwide director of business & legal affairs, Robin Chalmers. Chalmers comes to the general counsel role at FreemantleMedia as a replacement for the retiring Sarah Tingay, who had spent 27 years with the company. Chalmers spent 10 years at BBC, and Freemantle COO Sangeeta Desai praised Chalmers’ work with “production, distribution, channel networks, home entertainment, advertising sales and digital platforms – with strong experience in corporate transactional activity such as M&A and joint ventures.”
Safety and security company Allegion spun off from Ingersoll Rand in December 2013, managing 27 global brands and instantly earning a place on the S&P 500. That means that Jeff Braun, recently appointed senior vice president and general counsel, should hold plenty of sway in building the relatively young legal department however he desires. Braun joined Ingersoll Rand in September 2013 as deputy general counsel and chief compliance officer, and he kept the same title with Allegion after the company was spun off. Previously, he worked as general counsel of General Motors China. “I’d like to personally welcome Jeff to my leadership team, and look forward to working with him to continue building our company,” said Allegion CEO David Petratis in a statement.
Silicon Valley may have somewhat of a diversity problem, but that does not seem to be the case with ultra-high capacity wireless communications company AOptix Technologies Inc., which WIPL notes has named Jan Kang as vice president and general counsel. Kang recently worked as general counsel of Cupertino Electric, where she was in charge of all legal and compliance functions. She also holds in-house experience with Asera, Prism Solutions and Lam Research. “Jan is not only an exceptional legal strategist well-respected in Silicon Valley, she’s also a savvy businesswoman with a strong entrepreneurial spirit,” said Dean Senner, chairman and CEO of AOptix in a statement. “For a high-growth company like AOptix, that’s exactly what we need in a general counsel.”