25 January 2017

Around the house

A weekly round-up of moves from around the globe.

By Kathryn Higgins


First up, US Federal Communications Commission general counsel Howard Symons has left the regulator after less than a year in the role. Mr Symons was appointed to head up the FCC legal department in July after former general counsel Jonathan Sallet left the position to join the US Department of Justice’s antitrust division as deputy general counsel for litigation. Yesterday, FCC chairman Ajit Pai confirmed that Brendan Carr will be serving as acting GC until a permanent successor is found. For the last three years, Mr Carr has served has served in Mr Pai’s office as his lead wireless, public safety and international legal adviser.

Meanwhile, FTSE 250 textiles company Berendsen has hired Alice Darwall as its first ever general counsel. Ms Darwall joins Berendsen from Proximity Advisors, where she has served as director of legal for the last two years. Previously, Ms Darwall spent 10 years as group general counsel at French Connection Group. Berendsen’s decision to appoint its first GC comes at a time of considerable growth for the company, which reported a 7 per cent lift in half-year turnover to £534m in June last year.

California-based computer graphics technology company Nvidia Corp has appointed patent litigator Tim Teter to the role of senior vice president, general counsel and company secretary. Mr Teter will move to Nvidia’s Santa Clara headquarters from the Palo Alto office of law firm Cooley, where he has hitherto served as a partner specialising in complex commercial litigation. He has particular experience in matters relating to patents and technology. Mr Teter will be taking over from outgoing general counsel David Shannon, who announced his plan to retire from the company in June last year.

Former Betfair chief legal officer Fiona Russell has been named the new EMEA general counsel at online accommodation giant Airbnb. Ms Russel left Betfair in early 2016 following the company’s merger with Paddy Power, which saw the latter’s own general counsel Ed Traynor stay on in Dublin as GC for the newly merged company. Ms Russel had first joined Betfair in 2006 before being promoted from international legal counsel, to head of regulatory affairs, and eventually to chief legal officer in 2013. She had previously worked as a solicitor at BSkyB.

Finally, US-based hospital chain Community Health Systems has confirmed that longserving general counsel Rachel Seifert will be retiring from the company in March. Ms Seifert has headed Community Health’s legal department since 1998, when she first joined the company as its first ever GC. Senior vice president and chief litigation counsel Ben Fordham will replace Ms Seifert on an interim basis when she steps down in March. 

Email your news and story ideas to: news@globallegalpost.com