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Major Legal Departments See Leadership Changes as Head Lawyers Gain More Titles: April 2019 In-House Moves

Kerri Ruttenberg, partner, Jones Day (from left); Anastasia Danias Schmidt, executive vice president and general counsel, Major League Soccer; and Jennifer Newstead, Facebook general counsel. (Courtesy photos)

Kerri Ruttenberg, partner, Jones Day (from left); Anastasia Danias Schmidt, executive vice president and general counsel, Major League Soccer; and Jennifer Newstead, Facebook general counsel. (Courtesy photos)

Facebook, the social media giant constantly in trouble with governments worldwide over data privacy concerns, named a U.S. Department of State adviser as general counsel earlier this month—one of the major in-house counsel moves highlighting a busy April. Other prominent additions include Walmart hiring a senior vice president of litigation as the company battles lawsuits related to the opioid epidemic while some general counsel resigned and others added more duties to their position.

For resignations, April started with the University of Southern California announcing the June departure of its general counsel amid the legal issues around the "Varsity Blues" admissions scandal and the sexual abuse accusations from 600 students against a former campus gynecologist. Also in the Los Angeles area, Public Storage and MedMen, the popular cannabis products retailer, both lost their top lawyers on the same day. Public Storage's chief legal officer took a position "closer to family" while MedMen's general counsel resigned with the chief operating officer three months after the former chief financial officer sued the company over alleged wrongful termination.

Top lawyers also took on more business-oriented roles. The NBA's Houston Rockets saw its general counsel tack on an executive vice president of basketball operations title “to identify winning players and figure out the best method of fitting them into our team.” The same week, co-working office space provider WeWork announced its chief legal officer would forfeit the chief operating officer title in exchange for a co-president role as the company poises itself for global growth. Butterball gave its general counsel the title of chief risk officer as it currently addresses a recall of its ground turkey over possible salmonella contamination.

As top lawyers added business roles, some traded in the legal role. Major League Soccer's general counsel will move into the newly created role of executive vice president of MLS Business Ventures, giving up the general counsel role to the current NFL vice president of legal affairs who's moving into the MLS position in May.

Below are more general counsel moves made public this month. The health care field surpassed other industries with the number of top lawyers named to their positions, including the hiring of the first legal director of Uber Health, the ride-hailing startup's health venture.



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ENERGY



Leeward Renewable Energy in Dallas has added Theodore Matula to its leadership team as senior vice president, corporate development and chief legal officer.

Matula most recently was the managing director of High Road Clean Energy, which he co-founded, according to Leeward. Before High Road Clean Energy, he also served as general counsel at Tierra Energy, which was sold to Duke Energy in 2007, where he became deputy general counsel for Duke Energy and led legal work for Duke Energy Renewables. Matula started his career at Vinson & Elkins in its Dallas office and Hogan & Hartson, now Hogan Lovells, in Denver.



Equitrans Midstream Corp. in Pittsburgh has appointed Stephen Moore to senior vice president and general counsel.

Moore most recently was special projects counsel for UGI Corp., a diversified energy company based in Pennsylvania, according to Equitrans Midstream’s statement. Prior to UGI, Moore was vice president, general counsel and secretary for the general partner of PennTex Midstream Partners, a publicly traded master limited partnership. While at PennTex, Moore led its initial public offering. Moore has held legal positions at Southern Union Co., Citrus Corp. and General Electric Capital. He began his legal career in Connecticut as a state criminal prosecutor.

“It is an exciting time to be in the midstream energy business and I am thrilled to join the E-Train team as Equitrans continues its journey as a 'new' company with more than 135 years of operating experience," Moore said in the statement. "With the ongoing natural gas development in our region and across the U.S., the midstream sector will continue to play a critical role in ensuring our country's energy independence. I look forward to partnering with the legal, commercial, construction, and operating teams across the Equitrans organization to support their safety and compliance culture and to deliver best-in-class midstream services to our customers."

HEALTH



Neurotrope Inc. named Dr. Michael Ciraolo general counsel and chief operating officer. Ciraolo, who has a juris doctor and medical degree, will manage legal affairs for the New York-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company that develops novel therapies for neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.

Ciraolo was most recently at Ovid Therapeutics, where he served as senior vice president and chief intellectual property counsel, according to Neurotrope’s announcement. Prior to Ovid, he was an executive director at Forest Laboratories. With a Ph.D. in chemistry from Stony Brook University and a J.D. from St. John's University School of Law, he began his legal career as an associate at Baker Botts in New York.

"I am very excited to be joining the Neurotrope team at this pivotal time in the Company's development," Ciraolo said in the announcement. “I believe that Bryostatin has tremendous potential as a treatment for moderate to severe Alzheimer's disease, and I look forward to contributing to the success of Neurotrope as it prepares for data and beyond.” Bryostatin-1 is a drug under development with Neurotrope.



San Francisco-based Audentes Therapeutics Inc., a gene therapy producer, has hired Mark Meltz as senior vice president and general counsel.

Meltz most recently managed legal, compliance and business development affairs for PaxVax, a specialty vaccines company, and the company’s sale to Emergent BioSolutions last October, according to Audentes. Prior to PaxVax, Meltz was a U.S. commercial lead lawyer at Biogen. Earlier in his career, Meltz served as head of legal for Novartis Vaccines for North America and Latin America. Before his in-house career, Meltz practiced law at Bingham McCutchen, now a part of Morgan Lewis & Bockius.



Annette North is the executive vice president and general counsel at Turning Point Therapeutics in San Diego.

Since 2015, North was senior vice president and general counsel at Kura Oncology, while simultaneously holding the general counsel and corporate secretary positions at Wellspring Biosciences Inc. and its parent company Araxes Pharma LLC. Prior to those positions, North served as senior vice president and general counsel at Ambit Biosciences and held in-house roles at SGX Pharmaceuticals, Axys Pharmaceuticals and Sequana Therapeutics.

“Turning Point provides a unique opportunity for me to work again with Athena—a talented and dynamic leader who I have known for many years--on a pipeline of potentially transformational therapies,” North said in a statement. “From the scientific founders to the team Athena has attracted, this is an impressive group of professionals with a strong connection to cancer patients and prior track records of success in bringing new therapies to market. I am excited to become part of the team.”



Jacqueline Studer of Akili Interactive Labs (Courtesy photo)



Akili Interactive Labs, a Boston-based digital medicine company creating prescription treatments for people living with cognitive dysfunction, has named Jacqueline Studer senior vice president and general counsel.

Prior to Akili, Studer served as corporate vice president, general counsel and secretary at IDEXX Laboratories. Akili’s statement said Studer had also assumed the general counsel title at GE Healthcare Information Technology & Performance Solutions division and held previous roles in the legal, privacy and compliance departments at Blue Health Intelligence and Allscripts Healthcare Solutions.

“With its engaging technology and groundbreaking science, Akili has a unique opportunity to personalize the treatment of cognitive dysfunction,” Studer said in the statement. “I am honored to be a part of the Akili team as we work to change how patients interact with their medicine company.”



Armor Correctional Health Services in Miami has hired Santhia Curtis as general counsel and compliance officer.

Prior to Armor, Curtis was general counsel and chief operating officer of a high-net-worth family’s diversified holding company in McLean, Virginia, according to Armor’s announcement.



All Star Recruiting's General Counsel, Vice President, Anthony Szydlowski (Courtesy photo)



All Star Recruiting, a health care staffing company in Deerfield Beach, Florida, has appointed Anthony Szydlowski to general counsel and vice president.

Szydlowski previously served as general counsel to Phoenix Tower International and Landmark Apartment Trust, according to All Star Recruiting’s announcement. Szydlowski also was assistant general counsel to RenaissanceRe Holdings in Bermuda and started his legal career as an associate with Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld in New York and Greenspoon Marder in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

"I am honored to join the All Star family," Szydlowski said in the announcement. "The company has an excellent reputation in the healthcare staffing industry for its commitment to the delivery of quality patient care and the impeccable service it provides healthcare facilities, physicians, and advanced practitioners nationwide. I am thrilled to be part of its caring, high-performance culture, and dedicated to supporting and protecting its brand."



Addus HomeCare Corp., a Frisco, Texas-based provider of home care services, has hired Sean Gaffney as executive vice president and chief legal officer.

Gaffney most recently served as general counsel for Dallas-based Encompass Health, the fourth largest U.S. provider of skilled home health services, according to Addus HomeCare’s announcement. Before Encompass Health, Gaffney was executive vice president of corporate development, general counsel and secretary of BroadJump, a software startup producing hospital cost-reduction technology.



Entasis Therapeutics Holdings, a Waltham, Massachusetts-based clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company focused on the discovery and development of novel antibacterial products, has appointed Elizabeth Keiley to general counsel.

Prior to joining Entasis, Keiley was senior vice president, general counsel at Oxford Immunotec, a U.K.-based global diagnostics company focused on developing and commercializing proprietary assays for immunology and infectious disease, according to her job announcement. Keiley served as the assistant general counsel of Zimmer, a subsidiary of Zimmer Holdings, a pure-play orthopedic device manufacturer. She started her legal career as a trial lawyer with Wildman, Harrold, Allen & Dixon in Chicago.

“This is an exciting time to be joining Entasis as the Company prepares to transition into a commercial-stage company with multiple late-stage clinical candidates,” Keiley said. “I aim to utilize my experience in navigating the legal and regulatory requirements for development and commercialization of Entasis’ innovative pathogen-specific, multi-drug resistant antimicrobial therapies.”



Jackson Healthcare, a family of specialized health care staffing and technology companies, has appointed Jay Mitchell to general counsel. He will replace Dennis Stockwell, who joined the company in 2008 and retired in March, according to the company's announcement.

Before Jackson Healthcare, Mitchell most recently was senior counsel at King & Spalding in Atlanta. Prior to that, he was chief compliance officer and chief legal officer for Piedmont Healthcare in Atlanta and senior attorney at HCA Healthcare in Nashville, Tennessee.

FINANCE



Boston Private, a wealth management, trust, and commercial and private banking services provider, has appointed Colleen Graham to executive vice president and general counsel.

Graham joins Boston Private from NextGen Compliance LLC, a legal and compliance advisory firm she founded and led as CEO, according to the company’s announcement. Graham also founded Signac, a financial technology joint venture between Credit Suisse and Palantir Technologies, where she led as co-CEO the development of leading-edge software to detect and mitigate employee and compliance risk for financial services. Earlier in her career, Graham worked at Credit Suisse as managing director and head of compliance of the Americas.

GOVERNMENT



Joellen Shortley has been appointed to corporation counsel for Oakland County in Michigan. Shortley will be the second woman to oversee the county’s civil law matters as she replaces Keith Lerminiaux, who retired last month.

Joining Oakland County in 1998 as administrative director for the board of commissioners, Shortley served as deputy corporation counsel from 2013 until her appointment to corporation counsel. Prior to that, she was a financial attorney for the county since 2000. Her public service career began in 1989 as a senior policy analyst for the Wayne County Board of Commissioners until joining Oakland County.

INSURANCE



Island Insurance Companies, Hawaii’s largest locally owned property and casualty insurance carrier, has appointed Michael Tanoue to vice president and general counsel.

Tanoue most recently was director at The Pacific Law Group. According to Island Insurance’s announcement, Tanoue also had served as a judicial law clerk for Judge Edward H. Nakamura of the Supreme Court of the State of Hawaii. 

NONPROFIT



The Ford Foundation promoted Nishka Chandrasoma to vice president, secretary and general counsel. Chandrasoma succeeds Ken Monteiro, who retired after 23 years within the legal department, the foundation said in a statement.

Chandrasoma joined the Ford Foundation in 2015 as deputy general counsel and assistant secretary to the board of directors.

“It is truly an honor to assume this new role and to serve a foundation, a president, and a board so resolutely dedicated to a social justice mission I stand by,” Chandrasoma said in the statement. “I am grateful to Ken Monteiro for his extraordinary generosity and his trust in my leadership. Thanks to his institutional wisdom and excellent counsel, I am ready and excited for this new position.”

REAL ESTATE



New York-based New Senior Investment Group has named Lori Marino as executive vice president, general counsel and secretary.

Marino most recently served as vice president, deputy general counsel and corporate secretary for ITT, a publicly traded global multi-industrial manufacturer, according to her position announcement. Before ITT, she was vice president, assistant general counsel and assistant secretary at Medco Health Solutions and managing corporate counsel and assistant secretary at Avaya.

TECHNOLOGY



David Teichmann has been named chief legal officer and corporate secretary of Infinera, a Sunnyvale, California-based global supplier of innovative networking solutions.

“This is an exciting time for Infinera as evolving customer demands align directly with its unique offerings and capabilities,” Teichmann said in a statement. “I am enthusiastic to join the Infinera team and contribute to the company’s growth as it strategically brings to market innovative new networking solutions built upon industry leadership in vertically integrated technology.”

Prior to Infinera, Teichmann was the executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary at optical component manufacturer Oclaro from January 2014 until its acquisition by Lumentum in December 2018. He also was the executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary of Trident Microsystems, a public fabless semiconductor company, from 2007 to 2012. Prior to Trident Microsystems, he served as the senior vice president, general counsel and secretary of GoRemote Internet Communications, working on the company’s initial public offering in 1999 and its acquisition by iPass in 2006.



Exide Technologies, the Milton, Georgia-based stored energy solutions provider, has appointed John Gasparovic as executive vice president, chief legal officer and secretary.

Gasparovic retired from BorgWarner Inc. in 2018, after serving as its executive vice president and chief legal officer since 2007. Prior to BorgWarner, Gasparovic filled the general counsel role at Federal-Mogul Corp., Roadway Corp. and Guardian Automotive and the assistant general counsel role at Guardian Industries Corp.

TRANSPORTATION



Aerion Supersonic, a Reno, Nevada-based supersonic aircraft manufacturer, named Douglas Coleman as general counsel and executive vice president, governance and compliance on April 4 and Matthew Cram as deputy general counsel on April 19.

Coleman arrives at Aerion from Spirit Aerosystems in Wichita, Kansas, where he served as deputy general counsel. He also held legal positions at global defense companies BAE Systems and Curtiss-Wright Corp. He was also a U.S. Department of Justice trial attorney in the Aviation & Admiralty Section, according to Aerion’s announcement. It included he is a licensed commercial pilot and Certified Flight Instructor.

A veteran Aerion employee holding contractual, legal and administrative positions, Cram was a shareholder at Aero Law Group, an aviation transactional law firm. Cram also has held different contractual and finance positions at the Boeing Co.