ALM Properties, Inc.
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Help Can't Wait
DAVID MELTZER had been working for the American Red Cross just a few weeks in 2005 when Hurricane Katrina made landfall near New Orleans. As the new head of the international services department, Meltzer technically wasn't responsible for disasters on the domestic front. But the storm's level of devastation called for an "all-hands-on-deck" response, says Meltzer. "It was the proverbial baptism by fire," or in this case, by water.
Now Meltzer is replacing outgoing Red Cross general counsel MARY ELCANO, who retired at the end of 2012.
As Meltzer takes the helm at the organization's legal department, the Red Cross is playing a prominent role in the recovery from another domestic disaster, Superstorm Sandy. "Sandy is fortunately in some ways less involved than Katrina," says the new GC, "but it covers a far greater geographic area. It requires a 10-state response."
As head of international services, Meltzer has overseen the organization's global disease prevention efforts, as well as the organization's Haiti Assistance Program. He won't be letting go of those duties just because he's becoming general counsel. "My passion's always been for the international work," says Meltzer, "even as a kid." Meltzer earned a B.A. in international relations from the University of Pennsylvania. After graduating from George Washington University School of Law, he worked for Mudge Rose Guthrie Alexander & Ferdon and for Barnett & Alagia, both in Washington, D.C. (Mudge Rose was dissolved in 1995.)
Meltzer went in-house more than 20 years ago for Intelsat General Corp., then an intergovernmental organization responsible for spreading satellite communications throughout the world. Over the next 16 years, he led Intelsat's procurement department, navigated its privatization, and ultimately became its general counsel.
Having a wide range of responsibilities is what most attracted Meltzer to his latest position. "One of the things that I've always liked about my jobs is diversity," says Meltzer. As the Red Cross GC, he says, "I'll have one foot in business and one foot in the law."
Meltzer will, however, have to scale back some of his international work. Last year he traveled 100 days, a number that will shrink in 2013.
He will have plenty to keep him busy stateside. In addition to its high-profile disaster relief work, the organization also produces about 40 percent of the nation's blood supply through its donation program. About two-thirds of the Red Cross's work is associated with biomedical servicesthe collection and sale of blood products. "That is an activity that's regulated by the Food and Drug Administration," says Meltzer, noting that a good portion of his attention as GC will be directed toward the FDA.
Outside of the biomedical portfolio, Meltzer will oversee legal matters related to employment, licensing, finance, and commercial contracts for the $3 billion enterprise and its 30,000 employees. Meltzer will also be called upon to head up the Office of Investigations, Compliance and Ethics, tasked with ensuring that all employees, clients, and beneficiaries are properly using donor funds.
How does an organization that's so heavily dependent on donors continue to be effective in a straitened economy? "By making sure that there's quality in what we do, that we don't jeopardize the trust that the public has for us," says Meltzer. "Even in down economies, the public has great trust in the Red Cross."
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In the Cockpit
There's a new GC piloting the legal department of Spirit AeroSystems Inc. The Wichita-based aerostructures manufacturer has named JON LAMMERS general counsel, SVP, and secretary. He replaces MICHELLE RUSSELL, who was appointed GC of YRC Worldwide Inc. in January 2012.
Lammers may be new to the job, but already, industry jargon like "nacelle" rolls right off his tongue. "That's the casing of equipment around the engines," explains Lammers. Spirit's other core products include fuselages, pylons, and wing components. "We're building pieces for the commercial aircraft that we all fly," says the GC.
Lammers will oversee a team of seven lawyers at Spirit. He anticipates that he'll devote a significant amount of time to managing commercial contracts. "Given the nature of our business, the contracting is extremely important," says Lammers, "both on the supply side and on the customer side." He'll also have primary responsibility for Spirit's litigation, labor and employment, mergers and acquisitions, IP, compliance, and corporate governance.
Most recently, Lammers served as Cargill Incorporated's deputy GC for North America. He spent four of his 15 years with the company in Singapore as Cargill's Asia-Pacific GC.
Compared with Cargill, whose product lines range from raw steel to pharmaceutical ingredients, Spirit's manufacturing is more narrowly focused. But that doesn't mean Lammers's new position will be any simpler. "There may not be as many products," says Lammers, "but the complexity is there in terms of what we do."
Like most other businesses, Spirit is operating under intense pressure to work faster and smarter. The nature of the aerospace industry is cyclical, says Lammers, and that has a direct impact on suppliers. To fulfill commercial aircraft orders with efficiency, he says, the company has to pay attention to passenger travel cycles.
Lammers himself started out at the business end. He pursued a business administration degree at the University of Southern California. The start of his 20-year legal career grew out of legal business courses at USC. After graduating, Lammers took part in a two-year training program at Morgan Stanley in New York before heading to law school at the University of Virginia.
Lammers began his legal career in commercial real estate at Paul Hastings in Los Angeles and later moved to Oppenheimer Wolff & Donnelly in Minneapolis. He went in-house at Cargill to be closer to his client's business. "I thought, too, that I might one day want to move to the business side." It's a notion, he says, that he still hasn't entirely ruled out.
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Biopharmaceutical company UCB S.A. is hoping to stay in the pink with the help of ANNA RICHO, its new executive vice president and general counsel. Richo comes to the Belgian company with a large dose of experience in health care and biopharmaceutical-related businesses.
Richo succeeds BOB TRAINOR, who retired after serving as UCB's EVP and GC for eight years. She will report to UCB chief executive officer and executive committee chairman Roch Doliveux and will be a member of the company's executive committee.
Richo is widely respected for her extensive knowledge of health care law and business ethics. She joins UCB after nine years at Amgen Inc., where she was senior vice president and chief compliance officer with oversight of the company's global compliance and business ethics program. While at Amgen, she was also responsible for management of the company's corporate litigation and law department operations. In 2009 Richo was recognized by FiercePharma, a website for the pharmaceutical industry, as one of the "Top 15 Women in Pharma."
Prior to moving to Amgen, Richo spent 12 years at Baxter Healthcare Corporation, rising through the ranks to become vice president, legal, for the BioScience business, with worldwide responsibility for all legal services. Before taking on that role, she was Baxter's chief litigation counsel.
Richo was an attorney for The NutraSweet Company before moving to Baxter. She was an associate with the Chicago-based law firm Peterson & Ross before going in-house.
Richo attributes her success to helpful mentors throughout her career. She vigorously pursues opportunities to provide the same assistance to today's young professionals, through membership in the Women Business Leaders of the U.S. Health Care Industry Foundation and the Minority Corporate Counsel Association. She also formerly served on the board of directors of Cytyc Corporation, a medical diagnostics company.
Richo received her J.D. from DePaul University College of Law, and her Bachelor of Science degree in Industrial Labor Relations from Cornell University.
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HILDEGARD BISON is making a new home on the range as the legal head of FVC Rhine and assistant general counsel of BP Europa and parent company BP. The 49-year-old attorney replaces KLAUS-GÜNTHER HAHN, who left BP in early 2012.
Bison was a partner at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Düsseldorf before joining the global oil mammoth. She worked at the prominent international law firm for 18 years, specializing in mergers and corporate law. Freshfields has been a long-standing adviser to BP, and advised the company on some of its many legal issues in the aftermath of the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Some of the company's top talent has wandered off for greener pastures since then, with global assistant GC ADRIAN MORRIS leaving to become the GC of Tesco plc in September.
BP went on a selling spree in 2012, selling significant assets to fellow oil and gas giants OAO Rosneft Oil Company, Plains Exploration & Production Company, Marathon Petroleum Company, Linn Energy LLC, and Tesoro Corporation [see Deals & Suits].
Bison has a cosmopolitan, wide-ranging background. She received an LL.M. degree (Master of Laws) from the University of Chicago Law School and a J.D. from the University of Bonn. Bison is licensed to practice in the state of New York as well as in Germany. Prior to joining Freshfields, she was a foreign associate at Windels, Marx, Davies & Ives (now Windels Marx Lane & Mittendorf) in New York. She is also a lecturer at the Center for Anglo American Studies at the Heinrich Heine University in Düsseldorf.
BP Europa covers BP's operations in Germany, Belgium, the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria, and Poland.
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As momentum continues to build in the resurgent construction market, Vulcan Materials Company is busy renovating its leadership team. The Birmingham-based company has named MICHAEL MILLS general counsel, senior vice president, and corporate compliance officer. He'll report to CEO Donald James.
Mills replaces ROBERT WASON, who will retire in October 2013 after nearly 25 years with the company. Wason will serve as senior adviser to Vulcan's executive management team until his departure.
Vulcan is the nation's largest producer of construction aggregatesprimarily crushed stone, sand, and graveland a major supplier of asphalt and ready-mixed concrete. There have been talks of a Vulcan buyout by Martin Marietta Materials Inc., Vulcan's primary competitor, but at press time a deal between the two hadn't materialized. Vulcan brings in annual revenues of about $2.6 billion, compared with Martin Marietta's $1.7 billion.
Mills's GC appointment marks the apex of a long career with Vulcan. He joined the company in 1991 and most recently served as SVP of its East Region. Previous titles include president of Vulcan's Southeast Division, VP and general manager for the West Region of the Midsouth Division, and associate general counsel.
The new GC has a bachelor's degree from Harvard University and a J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law. He also has an MBA in his tool belt from Northwestern University's Kellogg Graduate School of Management. Before going in-house, Mills was an associate at Miller, Hamilton, Snider & Odom in Mobile. He clerked in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia after graduating from law school.
Rounding out Vulcan's management remodeling, John McPherson, previously SVP of strategic planning and business development, will replace Mills as East Region senior vice president, and former construction materials EVP Dan Shepherd will assume the post of chief operating officer as the company forges ahead.