Around the house: ADM taps Baker Hughes for GC, Moody’s hands GC role to long-serving in-house lawyer

This week’s roundup of top in-house moves also includes appointments at Swarovski, Cox Enterprises, Ceribell and Intact Financial Corporation

ADM’s new GC Regina Bynote Jones Photo courtesy of ADM

ADM hires Baker Hughes CLO to replace retiring GC

US food processing giant ADM has hired Regina Bynote Jones as its new general counsel, replacing Cam Findlay who is retiring.

Bynote Jones joins from energy services company Baker Hughes, where she was chief legal officer. At ADM, she will be responsible for all of its global legal and regularity affairs, compliance matters, security and government relations. She will be based in Chicago and also sit on ADM’s executive council.

Juan Luciano, ADM’s chair and CEO, said: “Regina’s extensive global experience in navigating the intersection of technology, regulatory compliance and strategic business risk make her an invaluable addition to the ADM leadership team. As ADM continues to advance our vision for strategic growth, Regina’s unique background and passion for value creation will play an important role in our journey ahead.”

Bynote Jones spent three-and-a-half years at Baker Hughes, having previously been GC and corporate secretary at oil refining company Delek US Holdings and GC at Schlumberger for its land rigs business and for its regional Asia business, among other roles. Prior to that she was corporate counsel at at Dynegy, having also held non-legal roles at Shell and EP Energy.

Findlay retires after a decade at ADM, having previously been GC at companies including Medtronic and Aon. He has held a number of government roles, including deputy secretary in the US Department of Labor during George W. Bush’s administration and as a senior aide to George Bush Sr. during his administration. He was also a partner at Sidley Austin, having earlier clerked for Justice Antonin Scalia in the US Supreme Court.

Luciano added: “I want to thank Cam for his transformative efforts over the past decade. He has done a tremendous job building world-class legal, compliance, regulatory and government relations functions at ADM, and we wish him well in his retirement.”

Moody’s promotes long time legal counsel to GC

Global credit rating agency Moody’s has named Richard Steele as its new general counsel, replacing John Goggins who is retiring after nearly a quarter of a century with the company.

Steele has been with Moody’s since 2006, first joining its KMV unit as chief legal officer before becoming GC of its Moody’s Analytics business when it was created in 2008. As GC of the wider group, Steele will oversee all legal and compliance functions worldwide. He has also joined the company’s executive leadership team.

Rob Fauber, Moody’s president and CEO, said: “Rich has played an integral role in the creation and expansion of Moody’s Analytics throughout the past 15 years, providing critical legal support for new product development, sales and acquisitions.

“His long history supporting the growth and evolution of our business, his deep experience with intellectual property and technology matters, including as a key advisor for important aspects of our artificial intelligence strategy, and his thorough understanding of the litigation and regulatory landscape will help ensure Moody’s is well positioned for the future.”

Prior to his time at Moody’s, Steele held a number of in-house roles, including as corporate counsel at Autodesk, vice president of legal at MSCI Barra, director of legal affairs at Worldview Technology Partners and GC at RealNames Coporation. He started his career at Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati and also served as clerk to US appeals court judge David Ebel.

Swarovski names new legal and compliance chief

Austrian luxury jewelry brand Swarovski has named Stephan Mechnig as its new chief legal and compliance officer.

Mechnig joins from German dairy company Unternehmensgruppe Theo Müller, where he was head of corporate legal, general counsel and chief compliance officer. At Swarovski, he will be responsible for overseeing and enhancing the company’s legal and compliance function. Current GC Alison Lazerwitz has been with the company for almost 13 years.

Alexis Nasard, Swarovski’s CEO, said: “In an ever-evolving business landscape, we are committed to upholding the highest standards of legal and ethical integrity. Stephan brings a wealth of experience and a deep understanding of the legal landscape that will undoubtedly support our compliance measures and reinforce our commitment to transparency and accountability.”

Mechnig spent just under 10 years at Theo Müeller, having previously served as chief compliance and security officer at Nestle in Switzerland. Prior to that he was senior counsel at chewing gum-maker Wrigley and business affairs counsel and senior sports marketing counsel at Coca-Cola. He started his career at Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer in Frankfurt and Düsseldorf.

Cox promotes GC to new CLO role

US comms, media and auto conglomerate Cox Enterprises has promoted general counsel Jennifer Hightower to chief legal officer, a newly created position.

Hightower has been with the company for more than 26 years, first joining its Cox Communications unit as a senior counsel before becoming assistant GC in 2002 and then head of law and policy in 2011. She moved across to Cox Enterprises in 2020 as GC, senior vice president and corporate secretary, before being promoted to executive vice president earlier this year.

In the CLO role, she will maintain responsibility for leading the company’s legal function, acting as lead legal advisor on policy and strategy across its various business lines, including Cox Communications and Cox Automotive. 

Alex Taylor, Cox’s CEO, said: “I consistently rely on Jennifer’s counsel, intellect and practical insights. She’s a thoughtful leader, and it shows in her relationships with her team, her peers and across the company.”

Prior to joining Cox, Hightower worked at BellSouth Corporation as manager of regulatory affairs and RaceTrac Petroleum as senior litigation counsel, having started her career in private practice at Drew Eckl & Farnham.

Medical startup lands ex-Pfizer lawyer as first GC

US medical device startup Ceribell has hired former Pfizer lawyer Louisa Daniels as its general counsel, a newly created role.

Daniels most recently worked as a consultant, having left her role as chief legal officer and GC of US biotech company Recursion earlier this year. At Ceribell, Daniels will lead the company’s legal, governance, compliance and ethics functions.

Jane Chao, co-founder and CEO of Ceribell, said: “Louisa Daniels is an accomplished legal strategist and industry leader. Louisa’s extensive experience will be a tremendous asset for Ceribell as we enter the next phase of rapid growth and work to make point-of-care EEGs available to more providers and their patients.”

Prior to her time at Recursion, Daniels spent 13 years at Pfizer as an assistant GC, most recently acting as chief counsel for global product development. She also previously acted as chief counsel for Pfizer’s global commercial operations and lead counsel for pharmatherapeutics R&D. Before joining Pfizer, she was senior director for legal at Elan Pharmaceuticals, senior corporate counsel at Tularik and senior licensing associate at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory. She started her career in private practice at legacy firm McCutchen Doyle Brown & Enersen.

Daniels said: “Ceribell is not only redefining the standard of care for diagnosis of life-threatening seizures, it is also making the rapid assessment of neurological conditions more accessible to healthcare providers.”

Canadian insurer Intact hires new regional claims head

Canadian insurance company Intact Financial Corporation has hired Sebastien Guenette as vice president for legal claims in the West, Quebec and Atlantic regions of the country.

Guenette most recently was head of legal, compliance and brand protection for Canada at e-cigarette company JUUL Labs. At Intact, he will lead a team of more than 300 lawyers and professionals.

Guenette said he was looking forward to joining the largest in-house litigation team operating within a property and casualty insurance company in Canada. 

Prior his time at JUUL, Guenette also had in-house roles at Japan Tobacco International, SNC-Lavalin and GE Capital. He previously worked in private practice at Canadian independent firm Lavery.

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