Around the house: AIG hires former Stripe CLO, Guardian newspaper’s US arm gets first GC

This week’s roundup of top in-house moves also includes appointments at Africa Oil, Stax Payments, BioMed Realty and Transport for London

Patricia Walsh will join AIG from Stripe Photo courtesy of AIG

AIG taps Stripe to fill GC seat as previous legal head becomes vice chair

US insurance giant American International Group, better known as AIG, has named Patricia Walsh as general counsel, replacing interim GC Rose Marie Glazer at the start of December.

Walsh joins from payments business Stripe, where she was chief legal officer and corporate secretary, overseeing the company’s legal and regulatory affairs, including public policy. At AIG, she will be responsible for the company’s legal, compliance and regulatory functions, and will also lead on government affairs. She will sit on AIG’s executive leadership team and report directly to chairman and CEO Peter Zaffino.

Zaffino said: “Trish is a top legal expert in financial services, with considerable insurance industry knowledge, customer focus and experience navigating today’s financial and regulatory environment… I am very confident that she will be a terrific addition to our leadership team and will have a significant and positive impact on AIG.”

Walsh spent almost four years at Stripe, having previously been CLO at Voya Financial. She also had in-house spells at Cigna (as deputy GC and chief compliance officer) and MassMutual Financial Group (as deputy GC and chief of staff to the CEO). Prior to her in-house career she worked in private practice at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton. In addition, she is currently a board director at AIG spin off Corebridge Financial, where Zaffino is also chairman. 

She said: “Over my career, I’ve been privileged to help new companies scale and established companies find new opportunities to increase enterprise value. AIG’s leadership team, under Peter’s guidance, encompasses both the bold vision and mission-driven focus I associate with start-ups with the disciplined execution and operational excellence of more established companies.”

Glazer has been standing in as interim GC from the start of this month after former GC Lucy Fato was promoted to vice chair. Once Walsh arrives, Glazer will resume her role as chief human resources and diversity officer. Glazer originally joined AIG in 2017 as deputy GC from Siemens, where she was GC for the Americas region. Fato, meantime, had served as GC since joining AIG in 2017 from Nardello & Co.

Guardian US hires first GC

Guardian US, the New York-based North American online version of British newspaper the Guardian, has appointed experienced media lawyer Kai Falkenberg as its first general counsel.

Falkenberg joins from G/O Media, where she was executive vice president, GC and corporate secretary, providing counsel for G/O’s digital brands including Gizmodo, Quartz and The Onion. At the Guardian, she will be responsible for providing legal and business advice, reporting to US managing director Steve Sachs and the newspaper’s US editor Betsy Reed. She will also serve as a member of the Guardian’s global legal team, which is based in London.

Sachs said: “An organisation of our size, reach and journalistic ambition demands a chief legal officer of Kai’s stature. Kai has experience managing the complex issues facing a large and growing media business: marketing and advertising, drafting new policies and protecting the editorial independence and integrity of a news operation.”

Falkenberg spent just over four years at G/O, having previously worked at the New York City Office of the Mayor, first as senior legal counsel and later as acting commissioner in the media and entertainment division. She was also previously at Forbes, where she spent seven years as editorial counsel and senior legal officer. Prior to her in-house career she spent four years as a media law attorney at Davis Wright Tremaine and four years as an associate at Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz.

She said: “As an avid follower of the US media landscape and a longtime participant in it, it’s been thrilling to watch Betsy and Steve take the reins of the Guardian US this past year. And I’m even more excited about their plans for the future. I can think of no better place and time to continue the work I’ve pursued throughout my entire career.”

Africa Oil hires experienced hydrocarbons lawyer as GC

Canadian oil and gas exploration company Africa Oil Corp. has named Joanna Kay as general counsel, replacing Natalie Abou-Alwan.

Kay joins from Bermuda-headquartered exploration company BW Energy, where she was associate GC. She brings extensive experience across the hydrocarbons industry in Africa, South America, Europe and Middle East, and has a particular focus on M&A, joint ventures, financing and commercial law. The company has also hired Oliver Quinn as senior vice president of corporate development – both will report directly to president and CEO Roger Tucker.

Tucker said: “[Kay and Quinn] bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to our organisation, with specific experience which will be central to the development of our business going forward. They will be key members of our leadership team and, as part of that team, will lead on the planning and delivery of our strategic objectives.”

Kay arrives after three years at BW Energy (and BW Offshore), which she joined from Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe in London, where she was of counsel. Prior to that, she spent two and a half years at Andrews Kurth and almost three years as a legal advisor at Tullow Oil. She started her career in private practice at Ashurst.

Abou-Alwan exits Africa Oil after just over a year. She was previously group GC at United Green and managing counsel at BP. She also worked in private practice at Clyde & Co and Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft.

Africa Oil has offshore exploration assets in Nigeria and Namibia, as well as other operations in Guyana, Kenya, South Africa and in the Senegal Guinea Bissau Joint Development Zone.

Payments unicorn Stax appoints general counsel

US fintech unicorn Stax Payments has appointed Lisa Roberts as general counsel.

Roberts joins from NCR Corporation, where she was chief counsel for payments and network. At Stax, she will bring across her expertise in legal and business strategy, as well as risk management and compliance.

She joins alongside new chief commercial officer Amy Waldhauer and chief marketing officer Jenn Reichenbacher.

Paulette Rowe, CEO at Stax, said: “The payments landscape is constantly evolving, and we at Stax are focused on helping our customers offer the best payments experience through world-class technology. That’s why we selected these accomplished women to join our executive leadership team. Each of them brings unique and valuable experiences that will enable Stax to continue our transformation and achieve our vision.”

Roberts spent just under five years at NCR, having previously been vice president and corporate counsel at Worldpay and senior counsel at SunTrust Bank before that. She previously worked in private practice at Am Law 200 firm Arnall Golden Gregory. 

In March 2022, Stax raised $245m from investors including HarbourVest Partners, pushing its valuation to $1bn, giving it unicorn status.

BioMed Realty promotes in-house counsel to GC

Blackstone-backed BioMed Realty has promoted Marie Lewis to general counsel, replacing Kevin Simonsen who retired in May.

Lewis has been with BioMed Realty since 2013, first joining as a managing attorney and working her way up to senior vice president for legal in 2020. She has been serving as interim GC since Simonsen’s depature and has been a member of the executive team since last year. As GC, she will be responsible for all the company’s legal, integration and compliance functions.

Tim Schoen, CEO of BioMed Realty, said: “This promotion affirms the impact that Marie has had on the BioMed Realty franchise over the past decade. Marie’s continued dedication to excellence, her passion for the company’s vision, and her talent as a committed mentor and leader have laid the groundwork for her success at the company. I am confident she will bring the same commitment to her newly expanded role.”

Lewis originally joined BioMed Realty from Sempra Energy, where she was managing attorney for its real estate assets. Prior to that she was an associate at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and started her legal career as a judicial clerk for US Central District of California judge William Rea.

Former Latham & Watkins associate Simonsen stepped down in May after more than 18 years with the company.

BioMed Realty provides commercial properties for the US life science and technology industries.

TfL names interim replacement for retiring legal head

UK rail and bus operator Transport for London (TfL) has named Andrea Clarke as interim general counsel, replacing Howard Carter who is retiring after 17 years in the role.

Clarke has been with TfL since 1996 and has served as director of legal since 2009. In the GC role, she be responsible for its legal, governance, risk management and audit services.

Carter had been with TfL since 2006, having previously worked at the Greater London Authority as head of legal and procurement. Prior to that he was director of legal and secretariat at English Heritage.

Transport for London is responsible for managing the city’s transport network, including cycle hire and river bus services. Clarke’s appointment coincides with other changes to its executive leadership team, with Fiona Brunskill being named chief people officer and Tricia Wright chief officer for pensions review.

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