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New BellSouth General Counsel Marc Gary brings broad experience in government, securities work and corporate governance to the job he’ll assume Friday. The telecom announced late Monday that Gary, 52, had been named to the post. He will oversee a legal department of about 100 lawyers and report directly to BellSouth’s chairman and CEO, F. Duane Ackerman. Gary has been the telecom’s acting general counsel along with J. Alberto Gonzalez-Pita since the resignation of Charles R. Morgan on July 12 in the wake of charges brought at the end of May that he had battered his wife in front of their two children. Gonzalez-Pita is leaving BellSouth Thursday to become the general counsel at Tyson Foods Inc. in Arkansas. Morgan hired Gary in 2000 from Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw (formerly Mayer, Brown & Platt), where they’d both been partners and where Gary had practiced for 20 years. Gary chaired the litigation department for Mayer Brown’s Washington office, where he focused his practice on antitrust, securities and professional liability litigation. Richard J. Favretto, a lawyer who worked closely with Gary at Mayer Brown, said Gary’s background in securities and professional responsibility litigation made him exceptionally qualified to be the general counsel of a major U.S. company in today’s post-Sarbanes-Oxley climate. With the increased government scrutiny of corporate governance in the wake of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, this kind of experience has taken on greater importance for corporate legal departments. “[Gary] has dealt with the complexities of financial reporting and accounting techniques and corporate governance that are foremost in this day and age for a chief legal officer,” Favretto said. “He is ready for this position. In some ways, he has been training for it for years and years,” he said. Gary also has government experience. In 1990, he took a two-year leave from Mayer Brown to serve as associate independent counsel for the U.S. Office of Independent Counsel, where he investigated alleged criminal wrongdoing at the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. A general counsel with a background in litigation and experience as a federal prosecutor is well-equipped to support the corporate board in this new regulatory climate, said June Eichbaum, who focuses on general counsel placement for Heidrick & Struggles, an executive recruitment firm. “It’s very consistent with Larry Thompson’s hire at Pepsi, given Gary’s [similar] background as a litigator and independent counsel,” she noted, adding that the government’s newly revised sentencing guidelines for organizational defendants, which go into effect Nov. 1, also expand board liability for corporate governance. These revised sentencing guidelines, on top of Sarbanes-Oxley, “are why we’re seeing this kind of appointment,” she said. Gary’s government experience was one of the things that set him apart from other candidates, said LeAnn Hansen, a spokeswoman for BellSouth. However, BellSouth already had implemented many of the rules and regulations required by Sarbanes-Oxley before they became mandated by law, Hansen added. Before joining Mayer Brown, Gary spent four years at Arent, Fox, Kintner, Plotkin & Kahn (now Arent Fox) in Washington. He received his J.D. from Georgetown University and his bachelor’s degree from Northwestern University. In 2002, Corporate Counsel magazine (a sister publication of the Daily Report) named Gary one of 10 lawyers likely to become the general counsel of a Fortune 500 company within five years.

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