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Even in the world of fast food and 24/7 interconnectivity, Anne Chwat’s recent job change gives new meaning to the phrase “life in the fast lane.” Eight weeks before Chwat started work as Burger King Corporation’s new GC in September, she was in the thick of Bertelsmann AG music division’s merger with Sony Music Entertainment. As BMG music’s GC, Chwat, 45, was the transaction’s lead lawyer, putting in 18-hour days — hardly an optimal time to consider a new job. But in late July, while rushing to outside counsel Davis Polk & Wardwell’s offices, Chwat got a call from Burger King. Did she want to talk with the new CEO, Greg Brenneman, about joining his team? That Saturday, she met with Brenneman, who was en route from Italy, at Newark airport. On August 5, the merger closed. Chwat skipped the celebrations and flew to Miami and BK headquarters. Chwat says she hadn’t been looking to switch jobs. It was, she says, partners at her old firm, Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, who gave her name to Brenneman. The link was Texas Pacific Group, the lead investor in the privately owned Burger King. As primary counsel to TPG, Cleary had first worked with Brenneman after the group acquired Continental Airlines, Inc., in 1993. Brenneman was president and COO of the carrier from 1995 to 2001 and started to build his reputation as a turnaround wizard there. It was her conversations with Brenneman, and everyone at Burger King, from the president to the head of human resources, that convinced Chwat the job was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. “It was very clear that Greg was coming in and creating a very close-knit team,” she says. “Everyone was so excited.” The whirlwind, however, didn’t stop after Chwat accepted the job. A longtime Manhattanite, she had to pack up and prepare her children, 11 and 6, for the move. On September 25, the family headed to JFK, anticipating a three-hour flight. But, they soon learned, Miami’s airports were shut due to Hurricane Jeanne. Undeterred, Chwat drove to LaGuardia and caught a flight to Orlando — and then spent the weekend driving to Miami by car. “It has been,” she says, “quite an adventure.”

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