Thank you for sharing!

Your article was successfully shared with the contacts you provided.
Name and title: Thomas Pollihan, senior vice president, secretary and general counsel Age: 53 The company: Kellwood Co., a 28,000-employee international firm based in St. Louis, started mainly as a manufacturer of women’s moderately priced clothing. Over 18 years it has evolved by acquisition into a holding company of approximately 30 subsidiaries that produce and distribute men’s and women’s sportswear and other “soft goods,” such as recreational equipment and intimate apparel. Major brands include the women’s sportswear labels Sag Harbor, Koret and Emme; Gerber Infant Wear and American Recreation Products are two others. In the last few years, Kellwood has also expanded its scope of business into licensing independent designers. The company pays royalties to designers that make clothing for customers ranging from Saks Fifth Avenue to Wal-Mart. The company has showrooms and marketing operations in New York and Los Angeles. Kellwood has also phased out its own domestic manufacturing operations, much of which is now done by the 50 manufacturing and distribution facilities that it owns overseas. Domestic manufacturing is accomplished through independently contracted work. The company did $2.2 billion in business last year and has projected $2.5 billion for this year. Latest deal: Licensing has been a more recent endeavor by the company, as most of Kellwood’s business dealings involved acquisitions up until two or three years ago. Recently, Pollihan was in New York to bid on Ann Klein, which Kellwood hopes to acquire. The company closed a licensing deal with Russell Simmons, the hip-hop entrepreneur, last month. Simmons enlisted Kellwood to manufacture men’s and women’s clothing, as well as children’s wear, for his Def Jam University line of clothing. “It was my right-hand man who did most of the work,” said Pollihan. “We have to balance the concerns of the licensor for the product integrity with our concerns that the license will be flexible enough to let us do the best job possible and maximize return.” In June, the company also signed a license agreement with Phillips-Van Heusen Corp. to manufacture and distribute a Calvin Klein-branded women’s better sportswear line in the Americas. Pollihan’s crew: As chief legal officer, Pollihan oversees all of the legal activity within the company. The department has three attorneys, three paralegals and two administrative assistants. It will expand “if we continue to acquire companies,” he said. He is in charge of what he loosely calls “the acquisition team,” involved primarily with negotiations for purchases. The team also works on designer licensing deals. As secretary of the board of directors, Pollihan works closely with the company’s chairman, Hal J. Upbin, in scheduling and organizing meetings, as well as writing minutes of board meetings. With the imposition of corporate governance changes by the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, his time spent on board and committee meetings has increased dramatically. Compliance issues: As part of its contractor compliance program, Kellwood inspects all domestic factories before agreeing to contract with them. Kellwood is also part of the American Apparel and Footwear Association, which has launched a program to certify overseas plants, which, in Kellwood’s case, are plants it owns, as compliant with local laws. Once certified, the plants are periodically inspected by an independent monitoring company for compliance with safety, regulatory, quality and performance standards. Pollihan said that the only compliance problem that has arisen involves disputes between contractors and their employees on the West Coast. “Most of the problems have been time and hour problems, whether contractors had time and hour records and whether they’re paying them overtime,” Pollihan said. Litigation: Kellwood is the plaintiff or defendant in approximately 30 to 35 lawsuits a year, most of which are resolved by some sort of settlement. “Half the issues are employee related, mainly past but current employees as well,” said Pollihan. Most of Kellwood’s employment litigation has been over wrongful-discharge allegations. In 2001, Kellwood settled for $1.3 million in a products liability action in which the plaintiff alleged that a robe made by Crowntuft, a division of Heflin Manufacturing, acquired by Kellwood, did not meet the standards of the federal Flammable Fabric Act. Squillaro v. Kellwood Co., No. 12227/97 (Nassau Supreme Court, N.Y.). A secondary issue is trademark infringement by overseas pirates. Kellwood’s trademark-protected brand names are registered with the U.S. Customs Service. To date, Pollihan said, Customs “has been helpful in preventing the illegal importation of our brand name by someone who’s not authorized,” but “it hasn’t been much of a problem.” Principal outside counsel: For general securities and corporate matters, Pollihan calls on McDermott, Will & Emery in Chicago; for trademark matters Senniger, Powers, Leavitt & Roedel in St. Louis ; and for corporate and bankruptcy matters Bryan Cave in St. Louis. Labor and litigation matters are handled by Morgan, Lewis & Bockius in Philadelphia, while Miami’s Sandler, Travis & Rosenberg handles customs and international trade matters. Route to the top: Pollihan majored in sociology at Quincy University in Quincy, Ill., where he played on the soccer team. After obtaining his juris doctorate at University of Notre Dame in 1975, he clerked for the Missouri Court of Appeal in St. Louis, after which he worked at the now-defunct Greenfield, Davidson, Mandelstamm & Voorhees in St. Louis. As a partner, he discovered his penchant for business law and left the firm in 1982 to become a staff attorney at Kellwood. Pollihan made general counsel in 1989. In 1992, he was promoted to vice president. Last year, he was promoted to senior vice president. He received his executive master’s degree in international business from St. Louis University in 1992, and is currently teaching international negotiations as an adjunct professor at St. Louis University School of Business. Personal: Pollihan has a daughter, Emily, who is a junior at the University of Kansas studying biology. Last book and movie: It’s Not About The Bike, by Lance Armstrong, and Bend It Like Beckham. -Cherie Song

This content has been archived. It is available exclusively through our partner LexisNexis®.

To view this content, please continue to Lexis Advance®.

Not a Lexis Advance® Subscriber? Subscribe Now

Why am I seeing this?

LexisNexis® is now the exclusive third party online distributor of the broad collection of current and archived versions of ALM's legal news publications. LexisNexis® customers will be able to access and use ALM's content by subscribing to the LexisNexis® services via Lexis Advance®. This includes content from the National Law Journal®, The American Lawyer®, Law Technology News®, The New York Law Journal® and Corporate Counsel®, as well as ALM's other newspapers, directories, legal treatises, published and unpublished court opinions, and other sources of legal information.

ALM's content plays a significant role in your work and research, and now through this alliance LexisNexis® will bring you access to an even more comprehensive collection of legal content.

For questions call 1-877-256-2472 or contact us at [email protected]


ALM Legal Publication Newsletters

Sign Up Today and Never Miss Another Story.

As part of your digital membership, you can sign up for an unlimited number of a wide range of complimentary newsletters. Visit your My Account page to make your selections. Get the timely legal news and critical analysis you cannot afford to miss. Tailored just for you. In your inbox. Every day.

Copyright © 2020 ALM Media Properties, LLC. All Rights Reserved.