GC Appointments

Allianz Life promoted Gretchen Cepek to general counsel, replacing outgoing Chief Legal Officer Maureen Phillips. In her new role, Cepek will act as chief legal advisor for the executive management team, and will oversee litigation, corporate governance, product development, special investigations and government relations. Cepek joined the insurer in 2009 from Woodbury Financial Services. She formerly spent 12 years in the complex commercial litigation practice at Querry & Harrow.


Biopharmaceutical company Novamax Inc. named John A. Herrmann III vice president and general counsel. Herrmann joined the company in 2010, mostly recently serving as executive director of legal affairs and corporate secretary. He also has held in-house positions at Ore Pharmaceuticals, Celera Genomics and Baxter Healthcare.


Prosperity Bancshares Inc. appointed Charlotte Rasche as its executive vice president. Rasche also will assume the general counsel role in April, replacing outgoing GC Peter E. Fisher. She joins Prosperity after 15 years at Bracewell & Giuliani, where she was a partner in the financial institutions group.


Millstein & Co., a restructuring and strategic advisory firm, hired Jane Vris as general counsel. Vris has nearly 30 years of experience in bankruptcy and restructuring. She previously practiced at Vinson & Elkins, and was a partner at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz.

Brad Carson was sworn in as general counsel of the U.S. Army, after being nominated to the position in September and unanimously confirmed by the Senate last December. Carson began his career in commercial law at Crowe & Dunlevy before shifting his focus to the public sector. He served for four years as a Democrat in the House of Representatives, and later deployed to Iraq as a U.S. Navy intelligence officer.

Other In-House Moves

Skullcandy announced the retirement of its general counsel and chief financial officer Mitch Edwards. Edwards, who will continue to consult for the company as needed, joined the headphone and apparel designer in 2010. He also has served as GC and CFO of BitTorrent and several other technology companies.

Marc Gary, general counsel of Fidelity Investments, announced that he will step down on May 1. Gary joined Fidelity in 2007. His prior work experience includes a GC role at Bell South Corp., and nearly 20 years as a partner at Mayer Brown. He is leaving Fidelity to become the executive vice chancellor and COO of the Jewish Theological Seminary.

Law Firm News

Jim Barnette returned to Steptoe & Johnson as a partner, after a stint in the public sector. Barnette, who served as general counsel of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, was a partner at the firm from 2007 to 2011. He will focus on energy, environmental law, telecommunications and healthcare.

Joseph W. La Barge, the former vice president, general counsel and chief compliance officer at Tengion Inc., rejoined Ballard Spahr’s business and finance department. In his new role, he will represent clients in the technology, biotechnology and pharmaceutical industries. La Barge was an associate at Ballard Spahr before serving as assistant GC at PMA Capital Corp.