The top lawyer at Herbalife Ltd. who signed the nutrition and supplement company's $200 million settlement last year with federal regulators over allegations of deceiving customers has been demoted, according to Reuters and other reports.
Mark Friedman, the company's former executive vice president, general counsel and secretary, now works on special projects, a person familiar with the personnel decision told Reuters. Rick Werber, who joined the Los Angeles-based company in early May, was named acting general counsel last week, assuming Friedman's duties, Reuters reported.
Friedman declined to comment Tuesday morning.
The Federal Trade Commission had alleged that Herbalife deceived consumers with the promise that they could become their own boss by selling the company's line of nutrition products, although many made scant profits, while others lost money. Under the terms of the consent order settling the FTC charges, Herbalife agreed to pay for an independent monitor to ensure its compliance with the July settlement, which requires the company to fundamentally change its compensation structure by rewarding actual sales rather than recruitment of new distributors.
A seasoned in-house lawyer, Friedman had served as Herbalife's general counsel since June 2013, according to his LinkedIn profile. Prior to that, he held the top legal positions at Pinkberry and the American Golf Corp. He also was senior counsel and associate corporate secretary at BP and Atlantic Richfield Co., later acquired by BP, for nine years.
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