27 June 2018 at 12:41 BST

Around the house

This week's round up of appointments features a general counsel who has found his way into the c-suite.


With growing attention paid to lawyers in the c-suite, for the seond week in a row a general counsel has shown they can take the c-suite in their stride. A former Allens partner and corporate counsel has been named deputy chief executive of Australia’s largest bank. David Cohen has been named as deputy CEO in a restructure of the Commonwealth Bank executive leadership. Mr Cohen was previously chief risk officer and general counsel at the bank, leading the company’s legal operations throughout a number of parliamentary inquiries into its troubled financial planning arm as well as the commencement of the banking royal commission. He previously held counsel roles at AMP and was a partner at Allens Arthur Robinson for 12 years prior to going corporate. Mr Cohen will lead a major project of the bank, with the demerger of wealth management and mortgage broking assets.

Swiss specialty baked goods company Aryzta, based in Zurich, has appointed a new general counsel and company secretary of the group. Rhona O'Brien will start in the position on 11 September 2018, and will also join the group executive committee. Hailing from Waterford in Ireland, Ms O'Brien is moving from DCCVital Ltd., where she was the senior counsel of legal and compliance in the company's healthcare division. She is a qualified solicitor with more than 18 years legal and governance experience and practiced in England, Ireland and Wales, having trained with Arthur Cox before joining telecommunications company eircom Ltd. in 2007 where she became general counsel of the company in 2013.

Netherlands' firm Frank’s International has appointed John Symington as senior vice president, general counsel, secretary and chief compliance officer, effective June 25. He will be based in Houston, Texas. Frank’s is a global oil services company providing tubular running services, tubular fabrication, specialty well construction and well intervention solutions with a focus on complex wells. Mr Symington succeeds Alejandro Cestero, who the company says in a statement will leave Frank’s on June 29 to pursue other opportunities but will continue to support the company and senior management on a transitional basis for several months. He previously served at Seadrill Group and Enventure Global Technology, while earlier in his career he was counsel at law firm Selman Munson & Lerner.

Based in London, renewable energy firm Bboxx has appointed Simon J. Cox to the role of general counsel and global head of Legal and Compliance. Mr Cox joins the company during a period of expansion in Africa and Asia where its solar home systems and mini-grids are offering an alternative solution to traditional electricity grid infrastructures. With more than 30 years’ experience in corporate law, Cox most recently worked as general counsel for ThomasLloyd Group, a global investment and advisory firm. He brings decades of international market experience, having worked at the helm of private equity deals, mergers and acquisitions, joint ventures and transactions across newly-emerging markets in Eastern Europe, Russia, Asia, Turkey, the Middle East and the Caribbean.

Hospitality startup OYO based in Gurugram India, and currently in talks to raise a fresh round of funding, has appointed Rakesh Prusti as its general counsel. As a member of the leadership team at OYO, Mr Prusti will work closely in all strategic and inorganic initiatives and will lead and manage contract management, disputes resolution, litigation, setting up risk management and compliance framework, international legal strategy, and policy advocacy among other responsibilities. Before joining OYO, he was the director of legal, compliance and regulatory affairs at Max Healthcare, and instrumental in several inorganic initiatives, strengthening corporate governance and compliance system and advocacy functions for the company. Mr Prusti has over 22 years experience, including roles at French retail giant Carrefour and NIIT Technologies.

Clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company DBV Technologies, headquartered in Bagneux France, has appointed Joan Schmidt as Executive Vice President, General Counsel. She will be responsible for all legal affairs and compliance at DBV, reporting to the Deputy Chief Executive Officer David Schilansky, and will also serve as a member of the Executive Committee. Ms Schmidt joins DBV after three years at Biotronik, a global medical device company, where she was Executive Vice President, Legal & Human Resources, General Counsel and Secretary. Previously, she held various positions of increasing responsibility at Novo Nordisk, most recently as Corporate Vice President, Legal Affairs.

Erwan Le Meur joins as General Counsel at SMCP, the parent company of three brands Sandro, Maje and Claudie Pierlot. Mr Meur will lead SMCP’s in-house legal function with a broad focus on compliance, corporate governance, litigation and intellectual property, among others. Prior to joining SMCP, he served as general counsel at Showroomprivé.com since 2016. He was also associated for over six years with Amazon in Paris, then Seattle. Me Meur has worked for eight years in the corporate departments of the law firms Latham & Watkins and then Debevoise & Plimpton in Paris and New York, and has been admitted to the bar in both Paris and New York.


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