Lease-to-Own Company Aaron's Signs Up New GC
Atlanta-based Aarons Inc. has put money down on Robert Kamerschen, the lease-to-own retailers new general counsel. He is responsible for managing all aspects of the companys legal and compliance work, including regulatory matters, intellectual property, litigation, vendor relationships, financings, and acquisitions.
Aarons currently has more than 2,085 stores throughout the United States and in parts of Canada, offering furniture, electronics, appliances, and home accessories.
Kamerschen heads a seven-member legal department at Aarons. The new GC has a history of team leadership. Before he went to law school, Kamerschen spent a season pitching for a minor league affiliate of the Philadelphia Phillies. He recalls his stint as an amazing time, despite being a struggling apprenticeship where you get paid nothing, travel on buses for 10 hours at a time, play every day, and have little chance of making it to the majors.
Pitching-arm problems cut Kamerschens pro baseball career short, but he later got to do legal work for Major League Baseball franchise the Atlanta Braves. The team was a client at Troutman Sanders, where Kamerschen began his legal career. After five years with the firm, he left to take an in-house position with another client, software provider EzGov Europe.
Kamerschen joined Aarons on June 3 from Equifax Inc., where he served as U.S. chief counsel, senior vice president, and chief compliance officer. Starting in 2008, he managed the credit reporting agencys U.S. legal function, compliance, and government relations. Kamerschen previously spent six years as vice president of law and public policy at information services provider ChoicePoint Inc.
From a compliance perspective, he says, his in-house positions have prepared him well for his newest role. In the environment were in now, we being all American businesses, there is a lot of scrutiny from regulators who are looking at business practices of all sortsfrom how you do marketing to how you guard consumer data, he says. All of that focus from a regulatory standpoint really is right at the core of what I was doing at ChoicePoint and Equifax. Information services companies have always been under that light.
The new GC will report to Aarons CEO Ronald Allen, who joined the company in 2011 and formally took the reins last year. Kamerschen says integrity is important to Allen, and he anticipates that the ex-Delta Air Lines Inc. chief executive will get behind his own efforts to make Aarons a better and more tightly run company. I think any general counsel will tell you that having the support of your CEO is really one of the most important factors, Kamerschen notes.
Kamerschen grew up around the Athens campus of the University of Georgia, where his father has taught economics since the early 70s. My high school was literally in the middle of the campus, says the GC. He earned his bachelors degree from Stanford, but returned to UGA for law school, graduating in 1994.
Kamerschen replaced Elizabeth Gibbs, who left Aarons at the end of last year.