Around the house: Albertsons taps CVS Health for new GC, Coursera promotes deputy GC to head legal team

This week’s roundup of top in-house moves also includes appointments at G1 Therapeutics, Rockland Trust Company, Skyryse and Uplight

Tom Moriarty takes over as GC at Albertsons Photo courtesy of Albertsons Companies

US retail giant Albertsons appoints pharma veteran as new GC

US grocery and pharmacy group Albertsons Companies has hired Tom Moriarty as it new general counsel, replacing Juliette Pryor, who left in April to join home improvement retail chain Lowes.

Moriarty joins from CVS Health where he was GC and chief policy and external affairs officer, bringing with him more than three decades of executive leadership experience. At CVS Health he oversaw the company’s legal and regulatory functions and helped lead its $78bn acquisition of Aetna. At Albertsons he will also serve as executive vice president and report directly to CEO Vivek Sankaran.

Sankaran said: “Tom is a proven leader whose broad background and deep understanding of corporate and legal strategy make him a welcome addition to our talented leadership team. His experience leading high-performing teams and successfully implementing important strategic initiatives at top companies will be invaluable.”

Moriarty spent more than 11 years at CVS Health having joined in 2012 from Medco Health Solutions where he worked for 12 years, including three as GC and a year as president for the company’s global pharmaceutical strategies. He also had in-house roles at Merial and Merck, having started his career in private practice, working for legacy firms Mudge Rose Guthrie Alexander & Ferdon and McDonough Korn & Eichhorn.

He said: “One of the things that excites me most about this opportunity is the vital role that Albertsons Cos. plays in the communities it serves as a grocery and pharmacy retailer committed to its customers and their wellbeing.”

E-learning platform Coursera promotes deputy GC to lead legal team

Online learning business Coursera has promoted its deputy general counsel Alan Cardenas to head its legal team, replacing previous GC Anne Cappel, who is moving to an advisory role with the company.

Cardenas has been with the business since 2021, joining from Siemens Energy, where he was head of US corporate legal. Since arriving at Coursera, he has spearheaded its global corporate legal function and chaired the company’s international expansion committee. In his new role, he will join the executive team and will also serve as company secretary.

Jeff Maggioncalda, CEO of Coursera, said: “I am confident that Alan will continue to provide exceptional counsel to Coursera that will enable us to serve even more learners and institutions around the world. As the first Latinx member of our executive team, we are also delighted that Alan will serve as the executive sponsor of HOLA, our Latinx/Hispanic employee resource group.”

Cardenas spent more than 13 years at Siemens, including just under two years at Siemens Energy after it was spun off from Siemens in 2020. Prior to that he worked in private practice as an associate at Drinker Biddle & Reath, having started his career at Debevoise & Plimpton.

Maggioncalda also paid tribute to Cappel, who had been GC for more than five years, praising her expertise, sound counsel and steady leadership.

“She has built a top-notch legal team and laid the foundation that has allowed Coursera to grow into a globally successful public company,” Maggioncalda said.

G1 Therapeutics replaces GC after former legal head departs

US biopharma company G1 Therapeutics has appointed Monica Thomas as its new general counsel and chief compliance officer, replacing previous GC Stillman Hanson, who has taken up a new role.

Thomas joins from Radius Health where she was head of corporate legal and assistant corporate secretary, bringing with her almost two decades of legal experience. At Radius, she advised the board on issues including SEC regulations and shareholder activism.

Jack Bailey, G1’s CEO, said Thomas joins as the company seeks to maximise the future value of its cancer drug COSELA, adding that “it is essential that we maintain our fundamental focus on excellence in compliance, governance and agency engagement”.

He said: “Monica’s deep sector experience across all such areas will be important to our continued success as an emerging biotechnology company.”

Thomas spent a year at Radius Health, having joined from global biopharma business UCB where she was associate GC. She previously spent just over 12 years at GSK, nine of them as senior legal counsel for its US pharmaceuticals business. She started her career in private practice at Smith Anderson.

Hanson left earlier this month after five years at G1 to join clinical research organisation Fortrea. Like Thomas, he also started his career in private practice at Smith Anderson, followed by in-house stints at Quintiles Transnational Holdings and IQVIA.

US bank Rockland promotes from within as GC retires

Regional US bank Rockland Trust Company has promoted Patricia Natale to general counsel of the bank and its parent company Independent Bank Corp, replacing Edward Seksay who is retiring at the end of June.

Natale has been with Rockland since 2016, joining as deputy GC before adding the corporate secretary role to her remit in 2019 and being named senior vice president in 2020. In her new role, she will sit on the bank’s executive leadership team and report directly to CEO Jeffrey Tengel.

Tengel said: “[Natale’s] promotion reflects the outstanding governance and critical judgment she has exercised on high priority business strategies since joining our organisation. We look forward to her steady stewardship as the newest member of our executive leadership team.”

Prior to joining Rockland, Natale spent 14 years as assistant GC and vice president at financial and commodity marketplace Intercontinental Exchange, better known as ICE. She started her legal career in private practice at legacy firm Bingham Dana & Gould before moving to her first in-house role at Thermo Electron, where she was associate GC, before adding another two years in private practice as an associate at Mintz Levin in Boston.

Seksay retires after an almost 40-year career that started at Choate Hall & Stewart in 1984, before becoming a named partner at Heller, Levin & Seksay where he worked until 2000 when he joined Rockland. He also served as the bank’s chief risk officer between 2019 and August last year.

Aviation startup names former Beachbody legal chief as new CLO

US aviation startup Skyryse has appointed Blake Bilstad as its new chief legal officer and corporate secretary as the company seeks to accelerate its growth.

Bilstad joins from US health and wellness business Beachbody, where he was also CLO and corporate secretary, bringing with him more than 20 years of corporate legal experience. At Skyryse, he will be responsible for protecting the company’s intellectual property and other legal matters. Skyryse is developing a highly automated, touchscreen flight control system called FlightOS.

Mark Groden, founder and CEO of Skyryse, said: “Blake will be a valuable addition to Skyryse as we plan for exponential growth and expansion, as we launch and expand into new markets and revenue streams. His deep legal knowledge of high-growth, high-revenue disruptive technology companies will allow us to navigate complex legal landscapes and revolutionise transportation, making urban air mobility as common as driving a car.”

Bilstad spent just under two years at Beachbody in Los Angeles, which he joined from Dosist, where he worked for almost five years as CLO, board member and corporate secretary. He also worked as general counsel at WWE and Provide Commerce and had spells at Vivendi Universal (as SVP for legal affairs) and (as corporate counsel and VP for legal affairs). He previously worked in private practice at Cooley.

Bilstad said: “Skyryse is set to be a major transportation disruptor in the United States and globally. I joined Skyryse to be a part of an incredibly talented leadership team and to support the company in the application of FlightOS across multiple airframes and complementary industries.”

Skyryse raised $200m in Series B funding back in 2021, led by investors including Fidelity Management & Research Company and Monashee Investment Management.

US renewables business Uplight names new GC

Clean energy tech provider Uplight has appointed Shaila Lakhani Ohri as its new general counsel and senior vice president.

Ohri joins from US utility Exelon, where she was assistant GC. During her time at Exelon, Ohri oversaw legal matters relating to intellectual property and branding, commercial and corporate transactions and corporate governance, as well as innovation and emerging technology. Ohri is also joined by new arrival Hannah Bascom, who takes up the chief market innovation officer role.

Luis D’Acosta, CEO of Uplight, said: “Shaila and Hannah are strategic additions for Uplight at this critical moment, as we are positioned to scale our execution at the intersection of customer engagement and load management. Their talent, experience and customer-centricity will be critical as we expand our solutions, add further capabilities and increase our impact.”

Ohri spent just over seven years at Exelon, having previously been associate GC at Pepco, which merged with Exelon in 2016. Prior to that she was associate GC at CapitalSource and worked in private practice at Dyer Ellis & Joseph.

Uplight provides software to energy companies to help their customers reduce energy consumption and streamline the transition to a low carbon economy.

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