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Name: Mark V. Beasley Title: senior vice president, general counsel and secretary Age: 50 Arts and crafts colossus: Headquartered in Irving, Texas, Michaels Stores Inc. claims to be the world’s largest arts and crafts retailer, operating more than 800 stores throughout the United States and Canada. Subsidiary Aaron Brothers owns about 160 framing and art supply stores, predominately on the West Coast. The company also owns two ReCollections scrapbook stores near Dallas. The 40,000-employee company posted 2003 sales of $3.1 billion. Securities: In December 2003, Michaels moved its stock listing from Nasdaq to the New York Stock Exchange. Like GCs of all public companies, Beasley has been busy ensuring compliance with governance and financial reporting requirements under the Sarbanes-Oxley Act and other post-Enron regulations. Beasley believes that these recent reforms have enhanced internal corporate communications on compliance matters and heightened general awareness of corporate fiduciary duties. He notes, however, that the process-oriented requirements have proven to be “enormously expensive to corporate America and its shareholders. “I don’t believe that it’s going to make crooks less crooked or honest people more honest. High-profile prosecutions are more likely to do that,” said Beasley. Litigation: Michaels has a pragmatic, case-specific approach to litigation, said Beasley. “We don’t just roll over on frivolous claims if we think people are simply trying to extort money from us, but we also don’t automatically adopt a ‘millions for defense, not a penny for tribute’ approach. Money spent on legal fees has the same effect on our bottom line as money spent to settle a case.” Beasley prefers early resolution of legal disputes, preferably out of court. “Most legitimate business disputes can and should be resolved by a business solution rather than have the lawyers draw their swords and waste money in court,” he said. In 2002, Beasley unsheathed the company’s legal swords in a lawsuit alleging that Aaron Brothers violated California labor law by shortchanging store managers on overtime pay. The company was one of several retailers in California hit by similar suits. “We settled not because we thought we did anything wrong, but to put the issue behind us,” said Beasley. Michaels reported a $5 million pretax charge related to the settlement of this case. In April 2003, Aaron Brothers and nearly a hundred other California employers were sued by job applicants in another class action based on the state’s labor code. The complaint alleged that the defendants illegally asked applicants about minor marijuana convictions and participation in criminal diversionary programs. In January, a trial court in Los Angeles dismissed the suit for misjoinder of claims. The plaintiffs have refiled a separate complaint against Aaron Brothers. Citing the pending litigation, Beasley declined to comment on merits of the lawsuit. California’s business regulations make it “unreasonably burdensome and expensive [for retailers] to do business in California,” said Beasley, while the state’s size makes it impossible to avoid. California “is absolutely the most difficult regulatory market to operate in,” complained Beasley. “We would join any kind of coalition . . . to get Governor [Arnold] Schwarzenegger to give us some regulatory relief.” Closer to home, Beasley is battling 10 securities class actions filed in federal district court in Dallas. The consolidated suits all allege that Michaels misrepresented the firm’s finances before downgrading its 2002 annual earning guidance. Michaels has moved to dismiss the litigation, which Beasley characterizes as “without merit.” In-house and outside counsel: Beasley supervises three in-house counsel, all hired from big firms: Marjorie Powell from Strasburger & Price in Dallas, Brad Blackwell from Jones Day and Jennifer Perez from Houston’s Bracewell & Patterson. “I wanted a high-quality legal department with big-firm experience,” he explained. Beasley and his staff handle corporate governance, financing, securities filings, acquisitions and divestitures, contracts, litigation oversight and general corporate matters. Michaels’ main outside counsel is the Dallas office of Jones Day, which handles general corporate and securities issues, employee benefit plans, securities litigation and financing. Beasley makes local calls to Dallas-based litigation counsel Haynes and Boone and Jackson Walker, which also handles intellectual property matters. For employment issues nationwide, he uses several offices of Jackson Lewis and Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart. Rocker to lawyer: Beasley was born and bred in Jackson, Mich. His father was an auto plant worker, and his mother was a revenue agent for the state of Michigan. A lifelong musician, Beasley played keyboard for a rock and roll band during his college days at the University of Michigan, graduating in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in political science. After his band broke up, he stuck around Ann Arbor to earn a 1979 J.D. from the University of Michigan Law School. Beasley became a corporate associate at Dallas’ Johnson & Swanson, now defunct, but then the city’s largest firm. By 1984, he had grown weary of the billable-hour treadmill and accepted a serendipitous offer to join the law department of Zale Corp., a jewelry retailer based in nearby Irving. In-house practice proved to be a much better fit for Beasley. “The mindset is more attuned to getting things done, as opposed to total risk avoidance, which seemed to be the prevailing attitude at most big law firms,” he said. In 1987, Peoples Jewellers purchased Zale and eliminated Beasley’s position, making him available to be hired that year as Michaels’ first general counsel. Personal: Mark and Linda Beasley have been married for 20 years. Linda, who just retired as a paralegal for a general contractor, volunteers at the local animal shelter, where she adopted the five cats who share the couple’s home in Dallas. When he’s not counseling his company or caring for cats, Beasley enjoys playing the piano and stargazing through his backyard telescope. “It really gives you a sense of perspective to see a galaxy that’s 2 million light years away,” he said. Last book and movie: Angels and Demons, by Dan Brown, and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

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