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She's a Natural
ISOBEL JONES was named the first-ever general counsel for natural and organic food company Annie's Inc. at the beginning of April. The position with the Berkeley-based corporation is Jones's third in-house job with a food and beverage company. "I really enjoy being part of a company that everyone can relate to," she says. "There's something very tangible about food companies. We feed people. We're part of their daily lives." And they have a logo with a bunny in it.
Jones graduated from Harvard University in 1989 with an East Asian studies major and a minor in economics. She had already been accepted to the university's law school during her senior year, but decided to interrupt her studies and spend a year working for a law firm in Japan. "I wanted to step back and think about what I was doing," says Jones. By the time she entered Harvard Law, she was certain she wanted to be a corporate lawyer.
Jones landed a job as an associate with Cooley Godward Kronish (now Cooley) after graduation in 1993. The Bay Area native spent 10 years in the firm's San Francisco office. Much of the corporate legal work in the area focused on Silicon Valley clients. As an associate, she counseled small start-ups, larger growing companies doing later-stage private financings, and companies that were going public.
At the firm, Jones also got her first taste of in-house work. "Your typical Cooley client at that time did not have in-house counsel," she says. As she gained seniority, she became the de facto GC to some of the firm's clients.
Jones learned firsthand what in-house work really entails after joining Del Monte Corporation, where she worked from 2003 until 2012. "Del Monte let me hone my skills as an in-house practitioner," she says. "There's nothing quite like being planted directly in the midst of your clients, where they can just walk down the hall and ask you a question." As associate GC at Del Monte, Jones was responsible for Securities and Exchange Commission reporting and compliance, corporate governance, M&A, and investor relations.
Jones most recently served as general counsel, vice president, and corporate secretary of Peet's Coffee & Tea Inc. The sole member of the legal department, she managed to get through her first round of public company reporting for Peet's when the company was taken private last year. "I was just beginning to get into the rhythm," she says, "when lo and behold an offer came in for the company out of the blue."
At Annie's, Jones once again finds herself the lone lawyer supporting a public company on the rise. The company, founded in 1989, now offers more than 125 products, including cheddar bunnies and Jones's favorite, shiitake & sesame vinaigrette.
"Annie's is a leader in organic and natural foods," says Jones. "It's committed to doing well by doing good, and it's shown that a company can be successful and socially responsible."
How will Jones affect Annie's expansion? "I'll be working with the executive team to build the company, while ensuring that we stay true to Annie's core values," she says. "There's a genuine willingness and interest in developing and refining policies that can be the backbone of our growth effort, and I think I can bring value to that."
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Beats Electronics LLC, the maker of bestselling Beats By Dre headphones, announced in mid-March that RAFFERTY JACKSON would be debuting at number one in the company's legal department as its first-ever general counsel and executive vice president.
Jackson comes to the Santa Monicabased audio products brand with a whole album's worth of in-house credits on her resume. For the past five years, she served as GC for VF Outdoor Inc., a manufacturer of apparel, footwear, and equipment for such labels as The North Face and JanSport. Before that, Jackson was general counsel for Ubiquity Software and associate general counsel for Macromedia Inc.
Jackson, who will be reporting directly to Beats president and COO Luke Wood, takes pride in her familiarity with brand-based in-house work.
Beats was founded in 2008 by rapper and producer Dr. Dre and veteran record executive Jimmy Iovine, who wanted to combine high-quality headphone sound with a fashion-forward visual style. The company's signature Beats By Dre headphones have since become ubiquitous among music fans, with Beats reporting $350 million in revenue in 2011. In 2012 the company acquired the streaming-music service MOG.
Competition in the industry is fierce. On the way to success and corporate expansion, Beats has had a chronically troubled relationship with electronic accessories company Monster Inc.
Jackson earned a B.A. in history at the University of California, Santa Barbara, and got her law degree at the University of California, Hastings College of Law.
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CHARLENE RIPLEY has been named executive vice president and general counsel of Vancouver-based Goldcorp Inc. She will report to company president and chief executive officer Charles Jeannes.
Ripley replaces DAVID DEISLEY. He left the company last fall to become general counsel of NovaGold Resources Inc., another Vancouver-based mining corporation. Ripley took up her post at the beginning of April.
Ripley had most recently served as senior vice president and general counsel for Houston's Linn Energy. She was responsible for leading the company's legal, information technology, corporate governance, compliance, government affairs, insurance, and risk management departments.
Earlier in her career, Ripley spent several years in the Calgary and Houston offices of Anadarko Petroleum Corporation. She served as the oil and gas company's general counsel, vice president, secretary, and chief compliance officer. Ripley began her in-house career with Amoco Canada Petroleum Company.
The new Goldcorp GC earned her law degree from Nova Scotia's Dalhousie Law School, now the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University. A Calgary native, she has a bachelor's degree from the University of Alberta and is licensed to practice law in both Alberta and Texas.
Goldcorp is one of the world's fastest growing "senior gold producers." Unlike smaller-scale junior producers, senior producers sit on large reserves and have more consistent revenue streams.
Goldcorp seems to have been blessed with the Midas touch in recent years. Reserves increased for a ninth consecutive year in 2012. The company reported record gold production of 700,400 ounces for the fourth quarter and 2,396,200 ounces for the year, compared with 687,900 ounces and 2,514,700 ounces, respectively, in 2011.
Goldcorp currently has operations throughout the Americas. It will now be calling on Ripley's rich seam of legal expertise as it prospects for future growth opportunities.
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THREE RIVERS MAN
The University of Pittsburgh has split its chief business and legal offices into two separate positions, making way for the appointment of a new general counsel at the beginning of March. P. JEROME RICHEY, who until the end of last year was the chief legal officer and executive vice president of Consol Energy Inc., is now the chief legal officer at Pitt.
Since 2004, JEROME COCHRAN had served in the dual role of the university's executive vice-chancellor and general counsel. University chancellor Mark Nordenberg said Cochran's multiple roles were a testament to his broad skills and indicative of the diverse needs of the principal consumers of legal services at the university. But Nordenberg said he always knew the time would come when he had to split the business and legal roles, and the opportunity to recruit Richey sped that up. Richey was not available for an interview on his move.
Richey will lead the university's Office of General Counsel and will oversee a department that includes 12 lawyers, the university's research integrity officer, and 10 other employees, including three paralegals. The attorneys in the office, all of whom have developed areas of special expertise, are responsible for preparing and reviewing Pitt's contracts, structuring and assisting with a range of oversight activities, representing Pitt in legal proceedings, supervising outside counsel, and providing legal advice to the university.
"Pitt always has been a very important institution to me, and, particularly in recent years, it has been one of the major engines of progress for this entire region, which has been my lifetime home," Richey said in a statement.
Richey received both his undergraduate and law degrees from Pitt. He began his career in private practice in 1974 with the law firm of Moorhead & Knox, which merged into what is now Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney in 1981. While in private practice, Richey focused on commercial litigation, employment counseling and litigation, governance, and internal investigations. He also served as the primary legal ethics adviser to Buchanan Ingersoll.
In 2005 Richey moved to Consol as GC and corporate secretary. In 2007 he was given the added title of senior vice president, and in 2009 he was promoted to chief legal officer and executive vice president, with responsibilities that included Consol's environmental and government relations departments.
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a solid relationship
Anglo-Australian mining giant BHP Billiton Limited has appointed Herbert Smith Freehills senior partner GEOFF HEALY as its new general counsel.
Healy is replacing DAVID WILLIAMSON, who joined BHP in 2010 from the former Blake Dawson. Williamson is returning to his old firm, which is now part of Ashurst. Healy, who will work in BHP's main headquarters in Melbourne, officially starts June 3.
The appointment is part of a senior-level staff shuffle occasioned by the arrival of new chief executive officer Andrew Mackenzie, who officially took over May 10. In a statement, McKenzie said he aims to streamline the management of the company, which is the world's largest mining company by revenue.
At his firm, where he had been a partner since 1997, Healy was the relationship partner for BHP. He specializes in regulatory matters and disputes. Healy previously represented BHP in a 2006 Royal Commission inquiry into whether the company had breached Australian laws in its dealings with Iraq. BHP was cleared in that investigation. The firm has also acted for BHP on a number of capital markets transactions, including a $1 billion bond issue last year.
Healy is not the first Herbert Smith Freehills partner to go in-house at BHP. Mike Ferraro, the firm's current global corporate practice head, left his role as managing partner of the former Freehills to be BHP general counsel in 2007.
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Black Elk Energy Offshore Operations LLC, an independent oil and gas company headquartered in Houston, has appointed MARIZZA PICHÉ its first-ever general counsel. Prior to joining Black Elk, Piché was general counsel at Boa Marine Services Inc., which provides marine and engineering support to the offshore oil and gas industry.
Black Elk Energy owns and operates hundreds of wells and oil drilling platforms in the Gulf of Mexico. The company has recently faced some legal and financial problems. A mid-November oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico brought the company unwelcome regulatory attention from the U.S. Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement. Relatives of two workers killed in the blast sued the company in late March. In early April the company announced the sale of some of its "noncore" properties.
Piché, who has more than 20 years of legal experience in the oil and gas industry, has worked with outside counsel on many aspects of the industry, including the acquisition, exploration, development, production, marketing, divestiture, and financing of crude oil and natural gas production, according to a company statement. She is also experienced in the formation, operation, liquidation, and restructuring of oil and gas companies, a spokesman for Black Elk said in a statement.
Piché has a bachelor's degree from the University of Texas and a law degree from Texas Southern University.