29 January 2020

Around the house: TikTok and Coty secure new general counsel

Social media sensation TikTok hires Erich Andersen while Kristin Blazewicz climbs on board Coty to help oversee its transformation programme

By Roman Edwards

The popular video-sharing social networking app Tik Tok has appointed Erich Andersen (pictured) as its first-ever general counsel. Andersen has joined the subsidiary of Chinese technology giant ByteDance, after spending more than 20 years at Microsoft: he joined as corporate attorney and was chief intellectual property counsel at the time of his departure. TikTok president Alex Zhu said: "Today's announcement marks TikTok's latest move in building out our global expertise in key areas such as compliance and IP protection.” Andersen, who is based in New York, said he would be working to place TikTok at “the forefront of global efforts to promote and balance user and community safety, alongside creative expression”. TikTok has been download 1.5 billion times so far, and is particularly popular in Asia. 

Cosmetics giant Coty has appointed Keurig Dr Pepper assistant general counsel Kristin Blazewicz as its next general counsel, effective from 15 March. She succeeds Greer McMullen, who resigned for personal reasons last autumn following Coty’s decision to move its management headquarters from London to Amsterdam. The relocation formed part of a turnaround programme announced by Coty in July after it wrote down around $3bn in the value of brands acquired from Procter & Gamble. Coty said Blazewicz, who will relocate from Vermont where she is currently based, would have a “strong focus on supporting our transformation towards a better and healthier business from a legal perspective”. Blazewicz was a corporate associate at Gibson Dunn before joining Keurig Dr Pepper in 2006.

Transferwise has hired Dean Nash from UK FinTech rival Monzo Bank, bringing to an end its search for a new general counsel following the resignation of Jennifer Swallow in July after her three-year stint at the British online money transfer service. She now moves on to become director of the LawTech delivery panel at TechNation, a business management consultant. Nash was a senior associate in banking and finance at Nabarro (now part of CMS UK) before moving in-house for spells at Lloyds Banking Group, Barclays UK and then Monzo Bank, where he was chief legal officer.

Susie Glick Gilfix has become the inaugural general counsel at Applause App Quality, which uses crowdsourcing to test new software. Gilfix has made the move from software company Pivotal, where she was associate general counsel, and will be based at Applause App Quality’s headquarters in Framingham, Massachusetts. Previous roles for the employment law specialist include a seven-year stint as assistant attorney general in the civil rights division at the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office where she was a member of the Massachusetts Hate Crime Task Force.

Timiko Cranwell has been appointed director of legal and corporate affairs at Budweiser Group’s UK and Ireland division. She joins from Pernod Richard where she was head of legal for global travel retail. In her new role she will oversee legal strategy, public affairs and external communications. Previous in-house roles include general counsel at MBI International & Partners, an investment group. She qualified and practised in Australia before moving to the UK.

Chris Ornelas has left his post as chief operating officer at the USA’s National Association of Broadcasters in order to fill the position of general counsel at Florida-based radio-operators Beasley Media Group

San Diego-based Arena Pharmaceuticals has hired Joan Schimdt as general counsel. She will succeed Steven Spector, who is retiring from the role after spending nearly 20 years at Arena. Schmidt makes the transfer from fellow biopharmaceutical company DBV Technologies, where she was chief legal officer. 

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