ALM Properties, Inc.
Page printed from: Corporate Counsel
Select 'Print' in your browser menu to print this document.
Moves: Going Aloft
GOING ALOFT: For new top lawyer at Pratt & Whitney, its been a steady climb.
Pratt & Whitney has put JOSEPH SANTOS in the cockpit of its legal department. As vice president and general counsel, Santos will have responsibility for contracts, litigation, M&A, corporate ethics, compliance, and security at the United Technologies Corporation subsidiary, a manufacturer of aircraft engines, industrial gas turbines, and space propulsion systems.
Santos replaces PETER GUTERMANN, who was named top lawyer for UTC Propulsion Aerospace Systems, a new division of the parent company.
Santos has a considerable in-house track record. Most recently, he served as GC of another UTC division, Hamilton Sundstrand Corporation. In that role, he was charged with managing Hamilton's legal matters from 2009 to 2012. Santos was vice president and counsel for Pratt & Whitney's commercial engines and global services division from 2004 until 2009. In that position, he led contract negotiations with airframers, partners, and airline customers. "It's an exciting business," says Santos, "and it was a very challenging role."
Santos was associate counsel for Pratt & Whitney's operations business from 1999 until 2003. He also held in-house positions with UTC's Otis Elevator Company from 1994 until 1999first as a contracts lawyer, then as litigation supervisor. The incoming GC calls his new position richly challenging, but adds, "Every job I've had has been the best job I have ever had."
A native of Portugal, Santos didn't speak a word of English when he started school in the United States at age 9. But he mastered the language quickly and in junior high school decided that he wanted to be a lawyer. "I had first decided to be a carpenter," he says, "but I was better with aligning words than window angles."
Santos knew early on in his career that he wanted to be a litigator. "What I didn't know was that I also would love the art of avoiding litigation," he says, "and that of making deals." Santos says that he learned to use litigation to develop business opportunities.
The new GC started his legal career at Thompson Hine in Cleveland, where he did construction, environmental, commercial, and product liability work. He also practiced commercial and environmental law at a boutique firm in Boston.
Santos says that he made the move in-house because he wanted to work in a business setting. He also enjoyed managing people, and he saw a greater opportunity to do that sooner in the in-house arena.
Santos earned his J.D. from Boston College Law School and a master's in law and diplomacy from The Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy at Tufts University. He has a bachelor's degree from the College of the Holy Cross.
* * * * * *
THOUGHT FOR FOOD
There's a new big cheese in the legal department at Kraft Foods Inc. The Northfield, Illinoisbased food and beverage company announced the promotion of GERHARD "GERD" PLEUHS to general counsel and executive vice president in February. Pleuhs succeeds MARC FIRESTONE, who in April became GC of Philip Morris International Inc.
Pleuhs has demonstrated a healthy appetite for responsibility throughout his long career with Kraft and its predecessor companies. In 1985 he joined the legal team at Jacobs Kaffee Deutschland, which was later acquired by Kraft. He became chief counsel for Kraft Jacobs Suchard in 1993. In that role, he was responsible for all of the company's legal and regulatory affairs in Germany.
Pleuhs took on the title of vice president and chief counsel for Kraft's Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, and Africa region in 2000. Three years later, he traded Toblerones for Oreos and relocated to the United States to become general counsel of Kraft Foods International. Most recently, Pleuhs has served as Kraft's deputy general counsel since 2007. He earned his law degree in 1981 from the University of Kiel.
In 2011 Kraft generated $54.4 billion in sales and saw its global net sales grow by more than 10 percent. Twelve of Kraft's brandsincluding Cadbury, Philadelphia, and Maxwell Housetop $1 billion annually. Pleuhs will have a full plate this year as Kraft carries out plans to divide its smorgasbord into two publicly traded companies.
A North American grocery branch will move forward under the name Kraft Foods Group, with $18 billion in projected sales. A global snack company with annual sales of about $35 billion will be formed under the proposed name Mondelez International. The name is subject to shareholder approval.
Pleuhs will stay on as GC of the snack company following Kraft's bifurcation. An external and internal search has been initiated to name a new GC for the grocery branch.
* * * * * *
TRIED AND TRUE
When Philip Morris International Inc. needed a general counsel two years ago, the tobacco giant hired a star litigator at a big law firm with no in-house experience. When that hire, DAVID BERNICK, resigned in February, the tobacco giant took a very different route in finding a replacement, bringing back one of its past GCs.
PMI announced in February that MARC FIRESTONE would take over as its general counsel in April. In his previous stint with the company, Firestone spent 13 years at PMI, including two years as its GC, before moving to Kraft Foods in 2003. Kraft is a former subsidiary of Altria Group Inc. (previously known as Philip Morris Companies Inc.), from which PMI was spun off in 2008.
While at Kraft, Firestone guided the food giant through its acquisitions of snack makers LU and Cadbury and its spin-off from Altria. GERHARD "GERD" PLEUHS will succeed him at Kraft (see "Thought for Food," above).
After attending Washington & Lee University, where he majored in romance languages and philosophy, Firestone set out to become a copywriter at an advertising agency, according to a short biography on the Kraft Foods Web site. "I knocked on the door of every ad agency in Manhattan. With bruised knuckles, I applied to law school," he said.
After graduating from Tulane University Law School, Firestone worked at the law firm Arnold & Porter in Washington, D.C.
In 2009 Firestone cofounded the Institute for Inclusion in the Legal Profession, a nonprofit that promotes diversity in the legal profession by encouraging lawyers to speak to high school and college students about the opportunities in the legal sector. He now serves as the institute's chairman. He is also an adjunct professor at New York Law School.
* * * * * *
Solna, Swedenbased Skanska AB has become one of the largest construction companies in the United States, winning projects like the World Trade Center Transportation Hub and the Second Avenue subway tunnel in New York City. But in top staffing it remains true to its Swedish roots, as evidenced by its new pick for its top lawyer position.
Skanska announced in February that ANN-MARIE HEDBECK will take over as senior vice president of legal affairs effective June 1, 2012. She currently serves as general counsel of Skanska Sweden.
From April 1 to June 1, Hedbeck will work in tandem with her predecessor, EINAR LUNDGREN, according to a company statement. Lundgren is retiring after 19 years at the company, including 17 years as senior vice president of legal affairs.
Skanska dates back to 1887, when it helped revamp Sweden's roads, power plants, offices, and housing. The company expanded rapidly overseas beginning in the 1970s. It now generates 28 percent of its revenue in the U.S., compared with 23 percent in Sweden. In 2011 Skanska was the fifth-largest construction contractor in the world and Skanska USA was the eighth-largest in the U.S., according to data compiled by Engineering News-Record . It is consistently ranked one of the most environmentally friendly contractors in the world by ENR.
Hedbeck can expect to spearhead a variety of internal investigations in her new post. As part of a 2011 nonprosecution agreement with the U.S. attorney's office in Manhattan, Skanska USA Civil Northeast Inc. agreed to pay $19.6 million to settle criminal fraud allegations. In 2007 six former managers of Skanska Latin America were arrested on tax evasion charges as part of an investigation by Argentine police into allegations that Skanska paid bribes to government officials in the country.
* * * * * *
After launching his career at the largest oil company in the Netherlands and bolstering his credentials at the largest chemicals company in the nation, CEES LOS has found another prominent Dutch company to call home.
Royal DSM N.V. announced in February that Los, 56, would take over as its general counsel and director of legal affairs, effective April 15. He replaced PIETER de HAAN, who stepped down for health reasons, according to a Royal DSM statement.
DSM is a diversified multinational manufacturing company active in industries including pharmaceuticals, food and agricultural products, and textiles. It has more than 22,000 employees and $9 billion in net sales. Royal DSM is based in Heerlen, the Netherlands.
Los, a Dutch national, most recently served as general counsel of LyondellBasell Industries N.V., which was formed by the 2007 merger of Dutch chemical company Basell AF and Houston-based Lyondell Chemical Company. LyondellBasell entered a 16-month Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2009. As part of that bankruptcy, the company revamped its senior management and replaced its Dutch CEO with an American executive based in Houston.
Prior to joining Basell's legal department in 2000, Los lived in Strasbourg, France, where he headed up the legal department at one of Basell's predecessor companies, Elenac SA.
After graduating with a degree in law and economics from the Free University of Amsterdam, Los spent much of his early career at Royal Dutch Shell plc. He joined the oil company in 1984 as a member of the corporate legal department specializing in labor and corporate law. From 1991 to 1995, Los worked in Tokyo as a senior legal adviser to Showa Shell Sekiyu K.K., one of Japan's leading oil refiners.
* * * * * *
ROBERT WEBB is revving up his legal skills to take over the law department at Rolls-Royce Group plc. The British engineering giant named Webb its new general counsel in January. The former British Airways Plc general counsel replaced TIM RAYNER, who had been in charge of legal at Rolls-Royce since 2007.
As the top lawyer for British Airways, Webb led the airline's legal and risk organization from 1998 until 2009. According to legalweek.com, in July 2009 he began a "door tenancy" at Brick Court Chambers. (A door tenant works as a barrister with a firm, but offsite. The arrangement is intended to avoid any suggestion of a conflict.) Rolls-Royce denied a request to interview Webb.
Webb chairs the boards of BBC Worldwide Limited and Autonomy Corporation plc. He also holds nonexecutive director positions on the boards of the London Stock Exchange Group plc, The Hakluyt International Advisory Board, and Argent Group PLC.
Rolls-Royce Group split off from the company's automobile division in 1973. As a provider of power systems, Rolls-Royce has established a strong position in the civil and defense aerospace, marine, energy, and nuclear markets. It reported a 4 percent annual increase in revenues in 2011.
As Webb powers up for his new role, Rolls-Royce is resolving litigation related to its "Mermaid Pods" marine propulsion system. The company has already paid out millions of dollars in France and the United States over the allegedly faulty system, which is used by cruise ships and oil rigs.
Webb earned his law degree from the University of Exeter. He was admitted to the bar in 1971 and was appointed Queen's Counsel in 1988.
* * * * * *
WELCOME, OLD FRIEND
Republic Airways Holdings Inc. has cleared ETHAN BLANK for takeoff as the head of its legal department, the airline company announced in late February. He fills the roles of vice president and corporate counsel for the company and its subsidiaries, and reports to senior vice president of corporate development Lars-Erik Arnell.
Blank comes to Republic after five years at Ober, Kaler, Grimes & Shriver, a Baltimore firm where he was a partner. While at Ober Kaler, Blank was a principal in the firm's finance group and, according to his bio, represented "financial institutions and leasing companies, as well as operators of commercial and business aircraft, railcars, and vessels in a wide range of financing transactions." Republic was one of his clients while he was with Ober.
As Republic's top lawyer Blank has oversight of loans, leases, and leveraged leases of aircraft; private placements with aircraft and equipment collateral; securitizations of aircraft lease receivables; and airline working capital financings. In addition, Blank says in his LinkedIn profile, "I have been involved in many airline bankruptcies, and have assisted clients in repossessing equipment."
The Indianapolis-based Republic Airways Holdings owns Chautauqua Airlines, Frontier Airlines, Republic Airlines, and Shuttle America. According to the company, these airlines collectively offer 1,500 flights a day to 133 cities in 42 states, plus destinations outside the United States.
Blank has a B.A. in history from Cornell University, and earned his J.D. at Hofstra University School of Law.
* * * * * *
CHANGE IS HEALTHY
The public image of WellCare Health Plans Inc. was a code blue last year after the company was hit with allegations of Medicare and Medicaid fraud. The Tampa-based insurer recently agreed to pay $137.5 million to the federal government and nine states to resolve four False Claims Act lawsuits. Several individuals were criminally indicted as a result of the scandal, including former general counsel THADDEUS BEREDAY. The ousted lawyer will face trial in 2013.
WellCare has called on new top lawyer LISA IGLESIAS to restore faith in the company's legal department. The Florida native has served as acting GC since last September. Iglesias joined WellCare in February 2010 as assistant general counsel.
As general counsel, senior vice president, and corporate secretary, Iglesias is now responsible for all of the company's legal functions. She will also manage the company's public affairs, a bailiwick that was only recently brought under the purview of the general counsel.
Iglesias brings more than a decade of in-house legal experience to the Medicare and Medicaidmanaged services provider. She was the first general counsel ever hired by Nordstrom Inc. Iglesias worked for the Seattle-based department store from 2007 to 2008. She served as an in-house M&A lawyer and GC of staffing agency Spherion Corporation from 1999 to 2007. Prior to going in-house, Iglesias practiced corporate and securities law at Greenberg Traurig.
Iglesias finished first in her class at the University of Miami School of Law. Before earning her J.D., she worked as a certified public accountant. Iglesias earned a master of accountancy degree and a bachelor's degree in business administration, both from the University of South Florida.
* * * * * *
EDF Energy has appointed a new group general counsel with the hire of ERIC THOMAS from electronic systems company Thales Group. The appointment, which Thomas took up in mid-February, sees him replace ALAIN TCHERNONOG as GC at the Paris-based energy company after the latter was promoted to the post of general secretary earlier this year.
Thomas has also been appointed a member of EDF Energy's executive committee. He will report to Tchernonog in the latter's role as global legal chief.
Thomas, who has been general counsel at Thales since 2006, has spent a large part of his career in-house at companies including Total S.A., French conglomerate Lagardère and its subsidiary Matra, as well as distribution services group Rexel.
In 2000 he became the first general counsel for military systems provider European Aeronautic Defense and Space Company.
Thomas's appointment comes over a year after EDF's U.K. arm appointed GUIDO SANTI as its new general counsel following the departure of long-standing legal chief JEAN MCDONALD.
McDonald had spent two years at the helm, having taken up the GC role at EDF when the French company purchased British Energy in 2008. EDF finalized a restructuring of iwts U.K. legal function in September 2009 in the wake of the takeover.