22 May 2019 at 08:45 BST

Around the house

This week's moves highlight some general counsel trends, including gc turned ceo and contractual departure of Caesars Palace gc after ceo's termination.

Jason Patrick Ross

The choice of general counsel moving into the ceo role and other top c-suite roles saw further evidence of the trend with the general counsel of the Video Game Industry Association being appointed as ceo of the Electronic Software Association. Stanley Pierre-Louis, a veteran in-house attorney, took the at the Washington DC-based video game industry association behind the popular Electronic Entertainment Expo, also known as E3 Expo.

Another trend is management shake-ups resulting in general counsel moves. General counsel Tim Donovan has left Caesars Entertainment following the departure of Mark Frissora earlier this month. SEC filings note that Mr Donovan had written into his amended employment contract last year that he could resign with certain benefits if the ceo was terminated. Mr Donovan served as executive vice president, general counsel and chief regulatory and compliance officer of Caesars Entertainment Corp. He was apparently not too happy with management changes, and resigned, effective June 6, after 10 years in the post.

Donald Walther has joined Florida-based TopBuild Corp as general counsel and corporate secretary, reporting to ceo Jerry Volas. Mr Walther previously served as executive vice president and general counsel for aerospace and defense industry supplier Esterline Corporation. He replaces Michelle Friel, who left TopBuild in May 2017 to become founder and ceo of GIRSA Group, which focuses on helping ‘emergent and renewal companies navigate governance evolution and challenge environments,’ according to her LinkedIn profile. Joe Jacumin, assistant general counsel, has held the interim general counsel role at TopBuild.

Gulfport Energy Corporation has selected Patrick K Craine as general counsel and corporate secretary, reporting to David M Wood, president and chief executive officer. Mr Craine has over 20 years of extensive senior-level experience handling a broad range of securities, corporate, regulatory, governance, compliance and litigation matters, with particular expertise in the energy industry.  He joins Gulfport from Chesapeake Energy Corporation where he served as deputy general counsel - chief risk and compliance officer. 

Philadelphia-based Axalta Coating Systems has appointed Brian Berube as senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary, effective July 15, 2019. Mr Berube is joining Axalta from Cabot Corporation, where he has worked since 1994. At present he is senior vice president and general counsel, with responsibility for all legal affairs including M&A, compliance, contracts, intellectual property, corporate governance, securities, litigation, environmental and employment matters. In his new role, he will be responsible for all legal functions at Axalta and will report directly to ceo Robert Bryant. He replaces Michael Finn, who stepped down late last year as general counsel and corporate/government affairs and corporate secretary at Axalta to join Nouryon as general counsel. He had served as Axalta’s general counsel since joining the company in 2013.

Beyond Meat Inc, a plant-based meat company, has announced the appointment of Teri L Witteman as general counsel and secretary. Reporting to Beyond Meat’s president and ceo Ethan Brown, Ms Witteman will be a member of the executive team, responsible for Beyond Meat’s global legal affairs and compliance functions. She arrives at Beyond Meat with more than 20 years of private, public and corporate legal experience, most recently as a partner in private practice with Musick, Peeler & Garrett LLP in Los Angeles specializing in the areas of SEC compliance, corporate governance, and mergers and acquisitions.

Align Technology has named its successor to legal chief Roger George, who has retired as senior vice president, chief legal and regulatory officer. Align has promoted Julie Coletti to take charge of legal matters at the company. Mr George, senior vice president, chief legal and regulatory officer, will leave the company at the end of August 2019. Ms Coletti was previously vice president and associate general counsel for strategic commercial affairs. She has taken over George’s responsibilities and will work with him during a transition, according to the company.


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