24 April 2019

Around the house

Houston Rockets net their new general counsel in-house amongst the postings around the house this week.


The National Basketball Association’s Houston Rockets have promoted its general counsel, Rafael Stone, who now will also serve as executive vice president of basketball operations. Mr Stone became the franchise’s general counsel in 2005, and will keep that title in addition to becoming evp. He worked at Dewey & LeBoeuf predecessor Dewey Ballantine before joining the Rockets. In 2017, Mr Stone worked on the record-setting $2.2 billion sale of the team from former lawyer Leslie Alexander to casino and hospitality billionaire Tilman Fertitta, along with Rockets associate general counsel Randall “Clay” Allen, a former associate at Locke Lord.

Cannabis retailer MedMen Enterprises has said it has accepted the resignation of general counsel Lisa Sergi, who is also a board member, She resigned alongside chief operating officer Ben Cook. The company said in a statement, “The leaders of the legal team include Dan Edwards, who will continue in his role of senior vice president of legal affairs, and report directly to the CEO.” MedMen is currently the subject of a lawsuit from its former finance head James Parker, alleging that he was exposed to racial, homophobic and misogynistic epithets and slurs, drug and alcohol abuse and personal humiliation, while at the company. The company has denied all wrongdoing. In March, it was expelled from the New York Medical Cannabis Association over the allegations.

Neurotrope, a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics for neurodegenerative diseases, including Alzheimer's disease, has announced the authorization of an inducement grant to newly-appointed chief operating officer and general counsel, Dr Michael Ciraolo. Dr Ciraolo comes to Neurotrope from Ovid Therapeutics, where he served as senior vice president, chief intellectual property counsel. The compensation committee of the board of directors of Neurotrope authorized the grant to Dr Ciraolo of a non-qualified stock option to purchase up to 100,000 shares of Neurotrope's common stock, as an inducement material to Dr Ciraolo's entering into employment with Neurotrope in accordance with Nasdaq Listing Rule 5635(c)(4).

Nathaniel A Vitan has been promoted to senior vice president, chief legal officer and corporate secretary at Public Storage, effective April 20, 2019. Mr Vitan joined the Company in June 2016 as vice president and chief counsel–litigation and operations. Prior to joining Public Storage, he was assistant general counsel for Altria Client Services. A company statement explained Mr Vitan succeeds Lily Y Hughes who tendered her resignation to pursue a chief legal officer position at another public company with strong consideration given to being geographically closer to her family. She is committed to working in partnership with the team through May 31, 2019, in order to ensure an orderly transition.

WeWork chief legal officer and chief operating officer, Jennifer Berrent, has been promoted to co-president. The New York-based shared office rental company is shuffling around some of its most senior executives as [art of an international strategy. Ms Berrent, will remain WeWork’s chief legal officer and a direct report to CEO Adam Neumann. She had been in her position for just under two years.

Equitrans Midstream Corporation, one of the largest natural gas gatherers in the United States, has announced the appointment of Stephen M Moore as senior vice president and general Counsel of Equitrans Midstream. Mr Moore has close to three decades of experience counseling in-house clients in a variety of business and legal environments. His most recent position was special project counsel for UGI Corporation, a diversified energy company based in Pennsylvania, where he advised on strategic corporate development projects, primarily merger and acquisition transactions.

The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company has announced that David E Phillips, associate general counsel, Americas, will become senior vice president and general counsel, effective June 4, 2019. Phillips joined Goodyear in 2011 as senior legal counsel, Real Estate and Finance, and later advanced to his current role, where he oversaw the legal affairs of the Americas business unit, including leading the staff of attorneys and paralegals who support it. The change follows the upcoming departure of David L Bialosky, senior vice president, general counsel and secretary, who is retiring from Goodyear after a decade of service. Mr Bialosky will remain with the company as an officer through his retirement date of September 30 to assist with the transition. Additionally, the company announced that Dan Young, senior legal counsel and assistant secretary, will become secretary and associate general counsel. Mr Young joined Goodyear in 2007.

Ingredion, global ingredients solutions company, has hired former Dell Technologies attorney Janet Bawcom as general counsel and corporate secretary. In her new role, Ms Bawcom oversees the company’s global legal, compliance and regulatory affairs and reports to company president and CEO Jim Zallie. She succeeds Christine Castellano, who worked at Ingredion for more than two decades, resigned earlier this year.

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