Now, some might say, Burton has come out on top: She’s landed a bigger, better job–at The Hearst Corporation.

Burton started work, as general counsel-designate, at the New York-based, privately held media empire in November. But she won’t take over Hearst’s 20-lawyer department until longtime GC Jonathan Thackeray retires in March. Unorthodox? Yes. But Burton lauds the long transition: “I’m doing a lot of listening and learning; it’s absolutely the way any GC should learn about a company.” Hearst, home to such familiar magazines as Esquire and Good Housekeeping, also encompasses cable networks like ESPN, Internet businesses, radio and TV stations, and a dozen daily newspapers.

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