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Name and title: Bob Gordon, senior vice president, secretary and general counsel Age: 56 Giant grocer: Safeway Inc. is North America’s second-largest supermarket chain, and one of the United States’ biggest retailers. It dates to 1926, with the merger of Idaho’s Skaggs Stores and Los Angeles’ Sam Seelig Co. Today, it is most heavily concentrated in the Western states and Canada, with approximately one-third of its 1,750 stores in California. The company also conducts business under the names Von’s, Dominick’s, Randall’s and Tom Thumb. In 2001, it established the Blackhawk Network, a startup company that sells third-party gift cards. Headquartered in Pleasanton, Calif., Safeway (publicly owned since 1990) has approximately 200,000 employees. It reported 2007 sales of $42 billion, ranking No. 55 on the Fortune 500. Daily duties: Gordon’s raison d’être is to “achieve the company’s goals with appropriate legal and compliance risk.” No two days at the office are the same. Generally, the most pressing matters are placed on the front burner. Gordon cited litigation, transactions, board issues and “any emergency” as focal points. Legal team and outside counsel: Gordon manages Safeway’s legal group of 33 attorneys, including those affiliated with the Blackhawk Network. He works particularly closely with Mike Boylan (the head of the general legal department) and Tom Hanavan (leader of the real estate law team). Gordon reports directly to Robert Edwards, Safeway’s chief financial officer. The general legal group performs one-third of its work in-house. Some 80 percent of the real estate team’s work is handled inside. Corporate matters go to Latham & Watkins and regulatory concerns to Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman. Outside litigation goes to a variety of firms. Gordon hires external counsel, as needed, for his cases. Safeway’s corporate diversity is reflected in its 25 percent rate of minority lawyers. Litigation and lobbying: Safeway was involved in several lawsuits at the dawn of Gordon’s tenure. Numerous antitrust actions against the grocer alleged price-fixing. Two of the cases went to trial, both of which ultimately vindicated Safeway. Its legal chief counts these wins among his career highlights. Litigation also arose during a period when Safeway acquired several regional chains, but has since run its course. The legal department is only tangentially involved in lobbying, which primarily is the responsibility of the government affairs department. Various environmental groups have targeted the use of plastic shopping bags, and a Safeway lobbyist decried the attempts as “un-American” for taking choices away from consumers. In 2003, however, the company collected approximately 7,000 tons of plastic bags to transform into Trex, a more environmentally friendly composite lumber. It is attempting to curtail its greenhouse gas emissions, and is reducing the company’s overall energy consumption. Additionally, Safeway is working toward fueling its fleet solely by biodiesel. Regular regulators: As a prominent retailer, Safeway is under constant regulatory scrutiny, most heavily in California. Gordon described the level of official oversight in the state as “vibrant.” Regulated categories include labor and employment, corporate matters and the pharmaceutical sector. Food safety, environment and energy use are overseen, as are copyrights and advertising. Alcohol, tobacco, privacy, immigration, antitrust concerns and relations with financial institutions are also under the watchful eye of various authorities. Gordon’s Sarbanes-Oxley Act responsibilities mostly concentrate on the Section 404 regulations dealing with internal controls. There is a greater focus as well on executive compensation and U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission disclosure rules, he has found. Moreover, his department has seen a higher level of shareholder activism than in the past. Miscellaneous duties: The Blackhawk Network subsidiary has generated substantial legal work for Gordon’s group, especially in the areas of intellectual property, trademarks and patents. Because most of Safeway’s employees are union members, the legal team has to handle “lots” of union-related tasks. It does not get involved in negotiations or collective bargaining, which are the responsibility of the company’s labor relations department. In 2003, Safeway attempted to reduce its employees’ medical benefits. This precipitated a bitter, five-month strike in Southern California by the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. The crisis spawned a great deal of work and a sizable amount of corporation and shareholder interaction for Safeway’s legal crew. The union’s pension and retirement funds launched a campaign to oust Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Steven Burd and two other Safeway directors. Burd and his colleagues withstood the challenge, and allegations that Burd was management’s ringleader in the dispute were discredited. Gordon described the favorable denouement as “a resounding victory by the company.” Burd has since become a staunch advocate of health care reform on the state and national levels. One of his goals is to loosen the legal constraints placed on corporate health care plans. Since 2002, the chain has “successfully reinvented” itself with several storewide initiatives. Gordon’s department cleared away the legal obstacles resulting from the new sales tactics of offering store-branded products, improved quality of perishables and so-called lifestyle remodeling of stores. Route to present position: Gordon got his bachelor’s degree from Yale University in 1973. He achieved his juris doctorate three years later at the University of Virginia School of Law. He then clerked for Judge James R. Browning of the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Next, in 1977, he joined then-Pillsbury Madison & Sutro, ultimately spending 22 years with the firm. He arrived at Safeway in May 1999, and was promoted to general counsel the following year. Personal: Gordon hails from Evanston, Ill. He has a pair of children: Bobby, 22, and Sarah, 20. His spare time is filled with swimming, tennis, piano playing, puttering in the garden and home improvement projects. Last books and movie: “Until Proven Innocent: Political Correctness and the Shameful Injustice of the Duke Lacrosse Rape Case,” by Stuart Taylor and K.C. Johnson, and “The History of Love,” by Nicole Krauss; “Crash.”

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