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Name and title: David A. Pace, senior vice president and general counsel age: 42 organization: Reebok International Ltd. is the third-largest athletic footwear and apparel company in the world (its sneakers are sold in 170 countries) and the second-largest in the United States, where it has 12% of the market. The company, which rode the aerobics craze to the top in the 1980s, has made a strong comeback in recent years. Its stock price has quadrupled since bottoming in February 2000. And its new signature line of fashion sneakers by hip-hop star Jay-Z is Reebok’s fastest-selling ever. The Reebok empire also includes Rockport shoes, Ralph Lauren footwear and the Greg Norman men’s sportswear collection. Based in Canton, Mass., Reebok employs 7,600 people worldwide and had net sales of $3.1 billion last year. nfl and nba deals: Pace played a major role in structuring and negotiating Reebok’s groundbreaking December 2000 deal with the National Football League and its August 2001 deal with the National Basketball Association to be the exclusive provider of all team apparel as well as NFL- and NBA-brand merchandise. A number of companies had previously produced all that. To operate its new sports licensing business, Reebok acquired the Indianapolis facility of bankrupt licensed sports apparel maker LogoAthletic Inc. Ropes & Gray of Boston assisted Pace on both deals. major litigation: Although about half of the company’s litigation is in the U.S. and most of the rest is in Europe, its biggest lawsuit in recent years took place in Australia. Reebok sued the Sydney Organising Committee for the Olympic Games in December 1999 for breach of contract. The company alleged that the committee violated Reebok’s $10 million deal to be the official sports brand of the Sydney 2000 Olympics by allowing Reebok’s competitors to make Olympic baseball caps and rugby shirts. The committee countersued for wrongful termination of the sponsorship agreement. A settlement was reached before trial, the terms of which are confidential. Pace set the company’s strategy on the case, which one of his senior counsel handled. But Pace said he negotiated the final settlement himself by phone. The Australian firm Freehills served as Reebok’s local counsel. legal department: Eight in-house attorneys report to Pace-four senior counsel and four counsel. All but one work in Canton. Two lawyers handle marketing, celebrity and athlete endorsements, team sponsorships and trademark protection. Two lawyers support the company’s sales organization. Three lawyers, one of whom is based in Rotterdam, Netherlands, focus on international work, including trademark enforcement and Reebok’s human rights program. The remaining attorney handles employment issues, manages litigation and oversees security at Reebok’s distribution centers and 209 retail stores. Pace restructured the department after becoming general counsel. He reduced the number of in-house attorney positions from 11 to eight and began relying more heavily on outside law firms and using solo practitioners. “We outsourced almost all of our trademark and patent work,” he said, adding that the restructuring resulted in better, more cost-effective legal work. The department’s budget totals about $10 million a year, about half of which goes toward trademark protection and enforcement. his role: Pace is in charge of Reebok’s legal affairs around the globe. He works mainly on corporate governance and securities issues, sports marketing and licensing, new business opportunities and major celebrity-endorsement contracts such as the ones the company has with basketball star Allen Iverson and tennis champion Venus Williams. In addition, he sets the company’s strategy on trademark enforcement and litigation and oversees the government relations department, which focuses on international trade. As part of the company’s executive management team, he takes part in business decisions. corporate governance: Lately, Pace has spent a lot of time ensuring that the company complies with all the new rules arising from the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002, as well as those issued by the New York Stock Exchange. He and other in-house attorneys put the proper procedures in place to enable Reebok’s CEO and CFO to certify the company’s filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Now he’s reviewing Reebok’s internal controls to protect against fraud so the company can certify as to their effectiveness in its next annual report. human rights: The factories that manufacture Reebok products, mainly in Asia, are required to meet the company’s workers’ rights standards. If one falls out of compliance, Pace or one of the other in-house lawyers work with the company’s vice president of human rights to help the plant rectify the matter. Although Pace is not always personally involved, he said he knows about any “issue[s] in that area . . . to make sure that we’re taking the right steps.” litigation in general: Reebok has between 15 and 30 lawsuits and administrative proceedings at any given time. Lawsuits filed by Reebok to enforce its trademarks account for the biggest number of cases. Contract disputes are the next most common. The administrative proceedings concern cases filed by employees. Its most high-profile case in recent years involved basketball player Shawn Kemp, who sued the company for $4 million for wrongful termination of his endorsement contract in September 2000. Reebok countersued, charging him with breach of contract for making disparaging remarks about Reebok in a newspaper interview. Kemp claimed his remarks weren’t about Reebok and that he’d been dropped for losing his superstar status. “We literally settled as the jury was coming back in to give a verdict,” Pace said. outside counsel: The company uses more than 100 law firms and individual attorneys worldwide since it has trademarks registered in virtually every country. Ropes & Gray, Pace’s former firm, is its primary outside counsel, helping with corporate and transactional work and litigation. Sterne Kessler Goldstein Fox of Washington works on Reebok’s patent and technology matters. Atlanta-based Alston & Bird handles trademark issues. route to the top: Pace played defensive end for the University of Pennsylvania football team while studying finance at the Wharton School. After graduating in 1982, he returned home to Boston to attend Suffolk University Law School. His first job was as a corporate lawyer at Ropes & Gray. Among his initial clients were Reebok and Applied Extrusion Technologies Inc. (AET), which makes plastic films used in product labels and packaging. After eight years at Ropes, Pace went in-house, becoming general counsel of AET, then based in Boston. But when Reebok’s general counsel asked him to fill an opening in the department just one year later, Pace jumped at the chance. Practicing sports law had always been his dream. He joined Reebok in June 1995 and quickly rose through the ranks. He was appointed GC in December 1999 when his predecessor left Reebok. family: Pace’s wife, Tracy, is a criminal defense lawyer at Boston’s Dwyer & Collora. last book and movie: John Adams, by David McCullough and Chicago. -Susan Mandel

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