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11 noteworthy in-house career moves

InsideCounsel charts some of the most recent GC and in-house appointments for Amgen, Big Lots and more

Journal Media Group

Extra extra! Journal Media Group, which manages print and digital publishing operations serving 14 U.S. markets in nine states, including the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel newspaper, has named Hillary Ebach as vice president and general counsel. Ebach previously worked at Chicago-based Wrapports, LLC, owner of the Chicago Sun-Times and a portfolio of digital businesses, in a variety of roles. She served nearly two years as executive vice president, legal and administration at Wrapports, from which she acted as general counsel and corporate secretary. Before Wrapports, Ebach worked as executive vice president of Lurie Investments, Inc. and also as a partner at Seyfarth Shaw. “Hillary is an accomplished attorney and immensely talented business executive,” said Tim Stautberg, president and CEO of Journal Media Group, in a statement. “Her deep and varied experience, coupled with her knowledge of local media and the fast-changing media ecosystem, will enable her to provide valuable counsel to her Journal Media Group colleagues.”

Amgen

From one S&P 500 component to another, Jonathan Graham is jumping all over the map of general counsel positions. Graham has been named GC, senior vice president and corporate secretary at Amgen, the world’s largest independent biotechnology firm. On July 13, Graham will move to the GC chair, replacing David J. Scott, who is retiring Aug. 31, 2015. Graham comes to Amgen from Danaher Corporation, where he previously served as senior vice president and general counsel. He has also worked in-house with General Electric, where he was vice president, litigation and legal policy. “We are excited to have Jon join our team,” said Amgen CEO Robert Bradway in a statement. “His proven leadership skills and depth of experience will serve us well as we drive our agenda for growth.”

Morton Salt

It’s a move from French fries to the seasoning associated with them, as Chad E. Walker has been appointed the vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of Morton Salt, Inc. In his new role, Walker will take over for Mary Doohan, who spent 23 years with the company. Before coming to Morton, Walker worked in a variety of roles with the in-house legal department at McDonald’s Corporation, most recently as assistant U.S. general counsel. He spent over a decade at McDonald’s, and was deputy general counsel for the State of Illinois Department of Central Management Services before that. “We are delighted to welcome Chad to the Morton Salt team,” said Christian Herrmann, company CEO. “His extensive experience practicing corporate and commercial law is a great match for our organization. We believe he will make significant contributions at Morton Salt as we continue to transform our business and brand for future generations.” Walker was placed in the position by Paul Williams of Major, Lindsey & Africa.

Ronald RobinsBig Lots

Big Lots wanted a Big Name in retail at the general counsel position, and it achieved its goal with the hiring of in-house veteran Ronald “Rocky” A. Robins Jr., who will take the positions of GC and corporate secretary. Big Lots says that Robins will be responsible for matters including SEC disclosures, corporate governance, and board of directors and committee affairs. That’s nothing new for Robins, who once served as general counsel, chief compliance officer and secretary of Abercrombie & Fitch. Prior to coming to Big Lots, Robins was a partner at Vorys, Sater, Seymour and Pease. Big Lots CEO David Campisi said in a statement, “We're delighted to have Rocky join the Big Lots executive team. His background from a public company perspective and from private practice will add great value to our team and support to our Board of Directors. Rocky is a highly respected member of the legal community in central Ohio and will be a tremendous fit to enhance our company culture.”

Eric LoumeauOtonomy

Eric Loumeau holds plenty of experience in a number of life sciences companies and law practices, and Otonomy hopes that he can parlay that experience into a successful general counsel run. Loumeau has been appointed GC and chief compliance officer of Otonomy, extending a 23-year career as in-house legal counsel and compliance officer for several biopharmaceutical companies. Before Otonomy, Loumeau served as: vice president of legal affairs at The Medicines Company; as vice president, chief financial officer and chief compliance officer at Rampex (which was purchased by The Medicines Company); and as general counsel and chief compliance officer for Hollis-Eden Pharmaceuticals. He has also worked as outside counsel as a partner at: Bass, Berry & Sims; Mintz Levin Cohn Ferris Glovsky and Popeo; and Cooley.

 

(Photo via LinkedIn)

Ava HarterOwens Corning

An aviation industry veteran is taking flight to a new challenge, as Ava Harter has been named senior vice president and general counsel at Owens Corning. Harter will succeed John Christy and serve as the company’s chief legal advisor, overseeing all aspects of law, compliance and securities compliance. Previously, Harter worked as general counsel, chief compliance officer and corporate secretary of Taleris America LLC, a joint venture between GE Aviation and Accenture. She also has in-house experience at General Electric (where she was GC of the avionics business) and The Dow Chemical Company.

 

(Photo via LinkedIn)

Lance BridgesNovatel Wireless

The Internet of Things is a booming business, but it’s also one that can provide a number of headaches for inside counsel. Luckily for Novatel Wireless, a provider of intelligent wireless solutions that aim to simplify the Internet of Things, new senior vice president and general counsel Lance Bridges has experience in the space. Bridges comes to Novatel from Entropic Communications, which provides semiconductor solutions for the connected home, where he served as senior vice president and general counsel from 2007 to 2015. Before that, Bridges worked as outside counsel with Cooley, serving as an outside GC to multiple companies. “Lance is a respected and experienced leader in managing in-house legal teams,” said Alex Mashinsky, CEO of Novatel Wireless, in a statement. “His expertise in leading mergers and acquisitions activities, managing corporate governance, enterprise risk management and ensuring legal compliance will further enable us to move as swiftly and intelligently as possible as we continue to expand our footprint in the Internet of Things.”

Mark CarlsonNanoLumens

In his professional career, Mark Carlson has held a variety of positions, including law firm group chair, director of business development, associate and consultant. However, Georgia-based visualization technology company NanoLumens is set to provide Carlson with his first general counsel role. Before joining NanoLumens (where he also assumes the role of vice president of strategic initiatives), Carlson was the Corporate/M&A Group Chair at Baker, Donelson, Bearman, Caldwell & Berkowitz. He also served as the director of business development for Fantasma Networks, a Silicon Valley wireless start up. “The role of general counsel has changed dramatically over the last ten years and, increasingly, a company’s general counsel is being called upon to play a more important role in shaping how businesses operate, managing different kinds of risk, and guiding corporate conduct overall,” said NanoLumens CEO Rick Cope in a statement. “Mark has both the legal and general business background we need at this critical juncture in our growth trajectory. 

Gerald QuirkTokai Pharmaceuticals

With the technical expertise that is needed when managing the legal department of a life-science company, it’s no surprise that Tokai Pharmaceuticals hired an in-house pharma veteran like Gerald Quirk as general counsel and executive vice president, business operations. Quick previously worked as GC at Infinity Pharmaceuticals, where he was responsible for the company’s legal, intellectual property, finance and corporate communications activities. He also worked in-house at Genzyme Corporation, and he comes to Tokai from his position as a partner and co-chair of the life-sciences practice at Boston law firm Choate, Hall & Stewart. “With global commercial rights to galeterone, an efficient Phase 3 clinical trial poised to begin this quarter, and a strong balance sheet, I believe Tokai is well-positioned to make a meaningful difference in the lives of patients,” said Quirk in a statement.

Thomas EvansKemper Corporation

C. Thomas Evans has been with the Kemper Corporation legal department since 1992, and after 23 years, he has finally reached the head of that department. Kemper announced that Evans will take over as general counsel at the end of June 2015, replacing the retiring Scott Renwick in the position. While at Kemper, Evans has served in a number of roles, including as associate general counsel and secretary since 2011. Before joining Kemper, Evans was a corporate litigator with Winston & Strawn. “Tom has been an integral part of our legal department for 23 years, and brings valuable insights from his most recent role as Associate General Counsel and Secretary,” said Kemper chairman and CEO Donald Southwell in a statement.

Robert TempleToshiba America Energy Systems

Starting a new corporate initiative unleashes an entire hornet’s nest of regulatory, intellectual property, and labor and employment issues. But for Toshiba America Energy Systems (TAES) Corporation, which combines three energy divisions from Toshiba and Westinghouse, the transition promises to go a bit smoother with energy industry veteran Robert Temple as general counsel and corporate secretary. Before coming to TAES, Temple was assistant general counsel for The Babcock & Wilcox Company, where he served as the chief legal advisor for Babcock & Wilcox Nuclear Energy, Inc. and Babcock & Wilcox mPower, Inc. He has also been the secretary and general counsel for Generation mPower, and he has worked in-house previously at CPS Energy and Commonwealth Edison (now Exelon). “I’m pleased Bob has joined our team and look forward to partnering with him as we build on TAES’ strong start. As we combine resources and capabilities, his experienced leadership will help us achieve accelerated growth for the new company,” said Ali Azad, TAES president and CEO, in a statement. 

Assistant Editor

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Zach Warren

Zach Warren is Assistant Editor of InsideCounsel magazine, where he oversees online content submissions and administers InsideCounsel's enewsletters. Zach specializes in new media and multimedia...

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