Around the house: AIG names interim as new GC after candidate pulls out, diamond giant De Beers appoints GC

This week’s roundup of top in-house moves also includes appointments at Macy’s, Vice Media, Pimco and CNX Resources

AIG interim GC Rose Marie Glazer will take on the role permanently Photo courtesy of AIG

AIG elevates interim after Stripe GC backs out of role

US insurance giant American International Group (AIG) has appointed Rose Marie Glazer as general counsel on a permanent basis after previously announced hire Patricia Walsh backed out of the move.

Glazer had been serving as interim GC since October after former GC Lucy Fato was promoted to vice chair. Walsh, who is GC at global payments business Stripe, had been due to start this month, with Glazer poised to return to her role as chief human resources and diversity officer. As GC, Glazer will be responsible for overseeing the company’s legal, compliance, regulatory and government affairs functions.

AIG said Walsh, whose appointment was announced back in October, had decided to stay at Stripe but didn’t provide any more detail.

Peter Zaffino, AIG chairman and CEO, said: “The legal, business and governance expertise that Rose Marie has demonstrated during her tenure, including most recently as interim general counsel, reaffirms that she is uniquely qualified for this leadership position.”

He added: “Rose Marie has played an instrumental role in the progress we have made in positioning AIG as a top performing global insurer. I look forward to continuing to work closely with her.”

Glazer has been with AIG since 2017, joining as deputy GC and corporate secretary before being promoted to chief human resources officer in January 2022. She arrived at AIG from Siemens, where she had worked since 2004 in a number of senior legal roles, including as GC for five years. She also had in-house spells at Telvista (as GC), Cogent Communications (as assistant GC) and American Airlines (as in-house attorney). She started her career in private practice at Jones Day.

De Beers appoints legal head as GC in leadership shakeup

Global diamond giant De Beers Group has named Chris Johnson as general counsel as part of a broader executive leadership reshuffle.

Johnson was previously head of legal since April 2020, having joined the company in 2016 as legal manager for its Element Six Group synthetic diamond business. Johnson will take on his new position from 1 January, the company said.

Ali Cook, who became De Beers’ CEO earlier this year, said: “I am proud to announce our new executive committee. This team combines members with deep experience of De Beers with new leaders who bring fresh perspectives. I look forward to working with each of them to deliver an exciting future for De Beers.”

Prior to his time at De Beers, Johnson spent five years as senior legal counsel at consumer packaging company Rexam, having started his career in private practice at Allen & Overy where he also spent 10 months on secondment at Barclays.

Macy’s names in-house fashion and retail heavyweight as CLO replacement

US department store chain Macy’s has hired Tracy Preston as chief legal officer, replacing Elisa Garcia who stepped down in October.

Preston joins from clothing company Hanesbrands, where she has spent just under three years as CLO, corporate secretary and chief compliance officer. At Macy’s, she will be responsible for all the company’s legal, litigation and compliance functions, including employment, real estate, credit, commercial and regulatory matters, among others. She will also serve as corporate secretary.

Tony Spring, Macy’s president and CEO-elect, said: “Tracy is a trusted legal and compliance expert, and I’m delighted to welcome her to our leadership team. For the past three decades, she has counselled global apparel and retail companies on strategic, business, operational and tactical matters, ensuring her experience will be an asset. Importantly, she brings a track record of aligning legal and risk mitigation approaches with business objectives and brand missions.”

Prior to her time at Hanesbrands, Preston spent eight years as CLO at luxury retailer The Neiman Marcus Group and 11 years as chief counsel at Levi Strauss & Co. Before moving in-house, she had spells in private practice as a partner at Orrick Herrington & Sutcliffe and as an associate at Latham & Watkins, defunct firm Sedgwick Detert Moran & Arnold and Baker McKenzie.

Garcia, meantime, retired in October after seven years with the company. Long-time Macy’s lawyer Wendy Beadles had been serving as interim CLO as the company searched for Garcia’s replacement.

Vice Media promotes business and legal affairs VP to GC role

North American digital media business Vice Media has promoted Jason Guberman to general counsel following the exit of chief legal officer Maria Krasnikow Harris.

Guberman has been with Vice Media since 2018, joining as vice president for business and legal affairs. His appointment to GC comes after the company filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection back in May amid a decline in advertising revenue.

Prior to his time at Vice, Guberman was director of business affairs at ABC News and vice president for business and legal affairs at ITV in New York. He started his legal career as counsel at Viacom, having previously worked in media production at Viacom and Good Machine.

Harris, meantime, departs after just over a year at Vice, having previously been CLO at US e-commerce business Packable. She also had in-house spells at fitness company SoulCycle (as GC), The Body Shop (as GC for the Americas) and Revlon and Warner Chilcott (both as assistant GC). She started her career in private practice at Torys before moving to Latham & Watkins.

Pimco names successor to 17-year GC veteran

US asset management giant Pimco has promoted Sung-Hee Suh to global general counsel, replacing David Flattum who is stepping down after 17 years in the role.

Suh has been with Pimco, one of the world’s biggest bond investors, since 2018, currently serving as GC for its global regulatory and litigation function. In her expanded role, which starts 1 January, she will oversee all legal matters for the company.

Emmanuel Roman, Pimco’s CEO, said: “Sung-Hee is a remarkable attorney and leader with a rich and varied career in many areas of law, including both the prosecution and defence of white-collar criminal cases, commercial litigation and regulatory oversight and enforcement.”

He added: “She is a strong voice and leader who has managed complex legal and regulatory issues and is also a collaborative colleague, mentor and advocate for Pimco employees.”

Suh originally joined Pimco as global head of regulatory risk and compliance from White & Case, where she was a partner. Prior to that she spent almost two and a half years as a deputy assistant attorney general in the US Department of Justice’s criminal division, overseeing the fraud, appellate and capital case sections. 

She also spent 15 years at Schulte Roth & Zabel, almost 13 of them as a partner, and more than two years as an associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell. Those spells were punctuated by almost six years as an assistant US attorney in the US Attorney’s office investigating and prosecuting financial crimes. She started her career as a law clerk for US District Court Judge Robert Carter.

Flattum, meantime, retires after 17 years with the company, having previously been GC and chief operating officer at Pimco parent Allianz Asset Management of America. He started his career at Latham & Watkins, where he became a partner.

Roman added: “I want to thank David for his invaluable contributions to Pimco and our clients during his 17 years at the firm. David has been a highly effective and thoughtful legal voice as Pimco has grown, and has played a critical role during challenging periods like the great financial crisis.”

Flattum will remain as a consultant at the company throughout 2024.

Natural gas company taps Visa for GC replacement

US natural gas company CNX Resources has appointed Timothy Bedard as general counsel, replacing Alexander Reyes who is stepping down later this month to “pursue other career opportunities”.

Bedard joins from Visa, where most recently he served as head of legal for value added services. At CNX, he will assume responsibility for all of the company’s legal matters.

Nick Deiuliis, president and CEO of CNX, said: “We are incredibly excited for Tim to join our executive management team at CNX… Tim’s expertise in IP and technology and depth of experience partnering with management teams will be a critical element in accelerating the growth of our new tech business opportunities and the continued execution of our business model.”

Bedard arrives after almost nine years at Visa, where he worked across a number of roles, including chief IP counsel and associate GC for IP. He also spent more than a decade at Johnson & Johnson as senior director for IP in its global surgery group unit. He started his legal career as a patent attorney at K&L Gates after almost eight years in the US Navy.

Reyes, meantimes, exits the company after three years as GC during a second spell with CNX, having originally joined in 2006 as senior counsel when it was known as CONSOL Energy. Before returning to become GC, he had a brief spell as a partner at Leech Tishman. He started his career as a corporate finance associate at Buchanan Ingersoll & Rooney.

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