Google Lawyer to Lead Pinterest's Legal Department

Pinterest Inc. has recruited a new general counsel from Google Inc. after a nearly four-month search: Christine Flores.

Pinterest Inc. has recruited a new general counsel from Google Inc. after a nearly four-month search.

By appointing Christine Flores as the new GC, the San Francisco-based image and ideas website has put a woman atop a prominent legal department in an industry not known for appointing women leaders—just in time for Wednesday's observance of International Women's Day.

Flores is leaving her post as the VP of legal at Google where she has worked for nearly a decade. She replaces Michael Yang, another Google alum who once served as the search giant's deputy general counsel. Yang, who was Pinterest's first GC when he came on board in 2012, announced his departure from Pinterest in November.

To fill out its lean legal department, Pinterest has a history of hiring lawyers from Google. In addition to Flores and Yang, two current employees in Pinterest's legal department came from Google in recent years, according to LinkedIn. And another Pinterest attorney was the former GC of AdMeld, which was acquired by Google in 2011.

An official start date for Flores has yet to be announced, but she will step into the general counsel role "in the coming weeks," a Pinterest spokeswoman confirmed via email Wednesday. "Her role will help us to continue to scale our revenue and ensure we continue to comply with the law as we expand internationally," the spokeswoman said.

Flores' hire stands out in Silicon Valley, where tech companies have long been scrutinized for their lack of diversity, specifically on executive teams and particularly when it comes to gender.

According to a 2016 study from McKinsey & Co., 37 percent of entry-level roles in the technology sector are filled by females, and only 15 percent of women will make it to the C-suite in the industry.

Another recent study, from the Association of Corporate Counsel, shows that male chief legal officers are more likely than their female counterparts to make more than $300,000 annually. And more women CLOs will make less than $200,000 in annual salary than men in those roles.

As Google's VP of legal, Flores was tasked with overseeing securities work, corporate governance, ethics and compliance, M&A, investments and real estate and legal operations, according to her LinkedIn profile. She led a team of about 100 lawyers.

In a statement, Pinterest CEO and cofounder Ben Silbermann attributed some of "the most challenging projects in the business world" to Flores, including her work on the Alphabet reorganization and international deals. "Her passion for the product and belief in our mission to help people discover ideas that improve their everyday lives made Christine a strong match," he said.

Pinterest confirmed that Flores will oversee a team of about 10 people on the company's legal and policy team.

Prior to her role at Google, Flores was an associate with Proskauer Rose. She also worked as an associate with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

Originally published on Corporate Counsel. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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Stephanie Forshee

Stephanie Forshee is a writer for Inside Counsel magazine. Previously, she has worked for the Puget Sound Business Journal, the San Fernando Valley Business Journal and Auto...

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