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Search and Ye Shall Find
Not long after the big news that exGoogle Inc. executive Marissa Mayer had taken over as chief executive officer of Yahoo! Inc., the company ended its search for a new general counsel, naming RON BELL to head its law department.
Bell has been with Yahoo's legal team since 1999, most recently as vice president and deputy GC for the Americas region, for global products, and for law department operations. In a statement, Yahoo noted his contributions to the company in deals including a search alliance with Microsoft and the expansion of The Newspaper Consortium, Yahoo's digital adserving platform. Bell will report directly to Mayer.
Bell's promotion came on the heels of executive upheaval at the company. Shortly before Mayer's highly publicized move into the CEO's office, Michael Barrett came over from Google to be Yahoo's chief revenue officer. Former GC MICHAEL CALLAHAN submitted his resignation in June, after more than 12 years in-house at Yahoo. In his resignation statement, Callahan wrote that he had "nothing but affection for this amazing company and its incredible employees around the world." As part of the transition, Bell was named interim GC; Yahoo's interim CEO Ross Levinsohn, who was passed up by Yahoo's board of directors for the permanent job, said in an internal memo that Bell has "made his mark on many of our most strategic deals and initiatives over the years."
Callahan's departure was the latest in a parade of attorneys heading out of the company's legal department. By early 2012, the California legal team had shrunk by nearly 20 percent from January of the previous year, according to sibling publication The Recorder. Several of Yahoo's top in-house lawyers have since moved on to tech companies like Facebook, Airbnb, and Evernote.
Before arriving at Yahoo, Bell was a senior corporate counsel at Apple Inc. for two years; prior to that, he was an associate at Sonnenschein Nath & Rosenthal, specializing in intellectual property, media, and litigation work there for almost five years.
Bell received his J.D. from the University of Chicago Law School in 1992, after completing a B.A. at the University of California, Los Angeles.