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Moves: Page Turner
Having literally written the book on women general counsel in the Fortune 500, Courageous Counsel coauthor and outgoing Allstate Corporation GC MICHELE COLEMAN MAYES is bound for the New York Public Library.
The NYPL announced in mid-June that Mayes was taking the general counsel spot at the storied library, the second-largest public library in the United States, after the Library of Congress.
For Mayes, the move offers a departure from her corporate career. "There comes a stage in your life where you think that you want to give back more," she says. "This was a way to do it on an iconic stage, because the institution is so well respected and has such a longevity and presence."
Mayes had served as Allstate's general counsel since 2007, and will be succeeded at the U.S.'s largest publicly held personal lines insurer by deputy general counsel SUSIE LEES, who has been with the company for 24 years.
Mayes will now report to Anthony Marx, who is advocating revamping the 42nd Street central branch because of budget woes. The so-called Central Library Plan involves moving reference books offsite, selling two other NYPL buildings, and converting part of the central branch into a lending library.
Critics maintain that the plan will put researchers and the city's poorer neighborhoods at a disadvantage.
Mayes recognizes that now is a "critical time" for the NYPL, and she says the Central Library Plan will be a top priority. "That is certainly front and center, because it's such a large part of where the institution sees itself going," she says.
The transformative role of e-books will also be high on her agenda, as will the library's partnerships with public schools. "The public school systemlike everything in this economyhas been under a lot of stress from a funding perspective, and now it's going to be able to partner with the New York Public Library, and maybe come up with a win-win," she says.
Mayes replaces JACQUELINE BAUSCH, who has held the temporary position of NYPL acting general counsel since June 2011. The new GC comes to the institution with 30 years of experience in the private sector across multiple industries.
Prior to joining Allstate, Mayes held the general counsel post at machinery and software manufacturer Pitney Bowes Inc. She has also worked in high-ranking positions in law departments at the Colgate-Palmolive Company and information technology company Unisys Corporation.
Mayes is widely recognized as a pioneer among top female lawyers. Courageous Counsel was the first book of its kind, a collection of 42 interviews with women general counsel in the Fortune 500. That cohort grew from some 20 women in the late 1990s to 101 women in 2010, according to a 2011 survey by the Minority Corporate Counsel Association (MCCA).
Mayes will begin the latest chapter in her saga in August. "It's a different path for me, and that's the very reason I'm intrigued by it," she says.
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The fifth-largest public automotive retailer in the United States has a new driver at the wheel of its legal department.
GEORGE VILLASANA is taking a spin with Asbury Automotive Group Inc. as the company's vice president and general counsel. Villasana replaced ELIZABETH CHANDLER, who resigned from the Duluth, Georgiabased company. No reason was given for her departure, and she was tasked with helping the company choose her successor. Chandler's departure was one of several changes at the top of the company's structure, including that of the CEO.
The Asbury job isn't Villasana's first time behind the wheel. From 2000 to 2007 he worked as senior corporate counsel for AutoNation Inc. (Full disclosure: He drives a Ford Explorer and hankers after a 1960s Porsche.)
The automotive industry is constantly changing gears, a key factor in driving Villasana back to the industry, he says: "I had a great experience working in the auto retail business, so when the opportunity presented itself, I couldn't resist."
Immediately prior to parking at Asbury, the 44-year-old Villasana worked as the senior vice president and GC at Swisher Hygiene Inc.
While both arenas are challenging and exciting for Villasana, the jobs are very different. He calls his former environment at Swisher "very active, very fast-paced, highly growth-oriented, and very focused on being a leader in that industry, even though it was a small company."
Asbury is a much larger, more established company, and the position runs the gamut of all types of law. From mergers and acquisitions to regulatory law to employment law, Villasana will preside over it all. "There's no one area you're bogged down in. You get to see quite a bit," he says.
Villasana got his J.D. from American University and a master of laws with a focus on taxation from Georgetown University Law Center before embarking on a career that has packed a lot into 18 years. He began work as an attorney with the Securities and Exchange Commission, then put in stints at two firms, Shutts & Bowen and Holland & Knight. He then went in-house, with a senior corporate counsel spot at AutoNation. From there he went to Pet DRx Corp., where as executive vice president and GC he helped take the company public.
Villasana worked with new Asbury CEO Craig Monaghan at AutoNation, where they enjoyed a strong professional rapport, and he couldn't pass up a chance to work with Monaghan again. "Fortunately, the opportunity opened up, and here I am," he says.
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It's a promotion almost 13 years in the making. Not a welcome number for some, but for DAVID BUCHEN, it's lucky; Buchen has now been picked to be Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc.'s new global chief legal officer.
It's a propitious time to be at Watson. The Parsippany, New Jerseybased company recently announced its intention to acquire Activis Group hf., another leader in generic drugs.
Watson focuses on products for urology and women's health. The company develops, manufactures, markets, and distributes both generic and specialized brand pharmaceutical products. Zug, Switzerlandbased Activis focuses on generic brand drugs and hospital pharmaceuticals.
The company will grow considerably once the Activis acquisition is consummated. Watson will go from being worth about $5 billion to about $8 billion, will move from operating in 20 countries to about 40, and will jump from 10,000 employees to 17,000. The change in size entails a lot of new responsibilities and challenges for Buchen. International laws differ on such areas as privacy, competition, patents, and intellectual property, leaving a lot for Buchen and his international legal team to keep track of. Right now, the team is working on a complex integration effort, trying to seamlessly transition employees and customers into the new global market. "The only thing we want customers to notice is the enhanced service," he says.
In addition to his core legal duties, Buchen is responsible for overseeing corporate compliance, an increasingly important role for global companies.
Before the acquisition, Buchen was executive vice president, general counsel, and secretary at Watson. He has been with the company since November 1998 and has been ideally positioned to watch it expand. Buchen has grown, too. "Throughout the course of my career I've taken on different challenges. I've had a variety of different oversight responsibilities, but I've never left my core focus on legal," he says.
Prior to joining Watson, Buchen gained some insight as corporate counsel for Bausch & Lomb Surgical, formerly the Chiron Vision Corporation, from November 1995 until November 1998. Before going in-house at Bausch, he was with Fulbright & Jaworski.
Buchen earned his B.A. in philosophy from the University of California, Berkeley, and got his J.D. from George Washington University Law School.
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Too Good To Pass Up
PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP has hired DIANA WEISS as general counsel for its U.S. operation, the company announced in early June. Weiss joins the accounting powerhouse from the Washington, D.C., office of King & Spalding, where she had been a partner. PwC named a new GC for its U.K. arm, MARGARET COLE, earlier this year ["The Enforcer," July].PwC was a client of Weiss's while she was at King, and she says the close relationship she developed with the company played a big part in making the decision to move.
"It was simply an opportunity I couldn't pass up. This has been my favorite client for a long time," Weiss says. She replaces PwC's former general counsel, CHET GERDTZ, who died in February.
Weiss's practice at King & Spalding focused on representing clients in investigations and hearings before the Securities and Exchange Commission and other regulatory agencies. She says that during her time at the firm, she found that the PwC partners demonstrated impressive levels of integrity. She also found that the people she worked with understood and respected the need for legal advice.
PwC is one of the largest service providers in the United States, with 35,000 employees. In addition to overseeing the company's slate of litigationsomething Weiss is familiar with from her time at Kingin her new position she'll also be responsible for the 38 members of the company's U.S. legal department, for advising the board and the management team, and for making sure the company upholds its ethics and compliance functions. Weiss is excited, she says, to take on this broader scope of legal responsibility, which is "a different role altogether" from what she's used to.
Before joining King & Spalding, Weiss was a partner at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe. She received her B.A. from The Ohio State University, and her J.D. from Cornell University.
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Associated Banc-Corp has refreshed its legal team with the appointment of RANDALL ERICKSON as executive vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary. The Green Bay, Wisconsinbased company is one of the top 50 financial service holding corporations in the United States, with assets totaling $22 billion, 250 branches in Wisconsin, Illinois, and Minnesota, and over 5,000 employees. Associated operates five major divisions, including a specialized financial services unit that issues loans for the power generation, oil and gas, insurance, mortgage warehouse, and health care industries.
Associated was formed in 1970 with the merger of three historic Wisconsin companies, The First National Bank of Neenah, founded in 1861, Kellogg Citizens National Bank, Green Bay, (1874), and Manitowoc Savings Bank, founded in 1884 as the Schuette Bank.
In his new post, Erickson will be charged with managing Associated's legal and government relations operations and regulatory affairs and for ensuring that goals and strategies related to government relations and legal risk management are met.
Erickson began his legal career at McDermott, Will & Emery in Chicago. He then went on to spend 12 years at Godfrey & Khan, where he worked closely with the financial services company Marshall & Ilsley Corporation. He eventually became M&I's senior vice president, chief administrative officer, and general counsel, a position he held until the Bank of Montreal acquired M&I last year. Following the acquisition, he briefly returned to Godfrey & Khan as a member of the firm's securities practice. Erickson's ties to the Dairy State run deep, so his choice to join a Green Bayheadquartered company comes as no surprise. He attended the University of WisconsinLaCrosse and in 1984 graduated cum laude from the University of Wisconsin Law School. He is currently on the board of directors of the University of WisconsinLaCrosse Foundation and the University of WisconsinMilwaukee School of Education's Board of Visitors.
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Anheuser-Busch InBev (AB InBev) has appointed ex-Halliwells lawyer ANNA TOLLEY as its new U.K. & Ireland general counsel, following the departure of CLAUDE BAHOSHY earlier this year.
Tolley, a civil and commercial litigator who joined the company in 2009, will now oversee the company's U.K. legal team, reporting to New Yorkbased chief legal and compliance officer SABINE CHALMERS.
Bahoshy, who took up the leadership of the drinks company's U.K. & Ireland legal teams in 2007, left earlier this year to assume a new role as deputy general counsel at Alliance Healthcare, which was formed five years ago via a split-off from Alliance Boots GmbH.
Bahoshy spent a number of years as Asia-Pacific deputy general counsel at InBev before its transatlantic merger with Anheuser-Busch in November 2008, at which point he took a role overseeing the merged entity's U.K. and Ireland legal functions.
The beer company, which has U.K. and Ireland revenues of roughly $1.6 billion, boasts a portfolio of brands including Becks, Stella Artois, Leffe, and Budweiser.
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The National Football League Players Association announced in mid-May that TOM DePASO was being promoted from associate general counsel to general counsel of the pro football union. He replaces longtime GC RICHARD BERTHELSEN, who retired after 40 years with the NFLPA.
DePaso has been part of the NFLPA legal department since 1984, beginning shortly after he achieved a law degree at Catholic University in Washington, D.C. But some of his most pertinent experience comes from his years as a player on the gridiron: DePaso was a linebacker for the Cincinnati Bengals from 1978 to 1979.
As associate GC, he has been responsible for representing players in collective bargaining negotiations, representing players in grievance hearings, serving on the union's collective bargaining agreement salary cap committee, and writing and enforcing agent regulations.
Last year Berthelsen and DePaso had to maneuver through tough negotiations with the National Football League team owners, which led to a lengthy lockout and nearly took down the entire 201112 season. The dispute was resolved, but not without leaving plenty of bruised feelingsand racking up millions of dollars in legal feeson both sides of the negotiating table.
Writing about the appointment for NBC Sports, Mike Florio noted, "Though the next labor fight remains at least nine years away, the current relationship between the league and the union is frosty, at best. Which means there likely will be plenty of opportunities for DePaso to protect and defend player rights moving forward."
One likely opportunity for DePaso to make his mark as GC is on the topic of violence in the NFL and possible long-term physical and psychological effects on players. The May 2 suicide of San Diego Chargers player Junior Seau and a recent suit by more than 100 players and their wives over football-related concussions have put the issue front and center for the league and the union.