Around the house: Former WeWork CLO joins US fintech DailyPay, Levi Strauss replaces veteran CLO

This week’s roundup of top in-house hires also includes appointments at Smithfield Foods, James Fisher and Sons, The Bank of London and U-Haul

Former WeWork CLO Jared DeMatteis joins DailyPay Photo courtesy of DailyPay

US fintech DailyPay snaps up WeWork CLO

US fintech company DailyPay has hired former WeWork chief legal officer Jared DeMatteis to head up its legal and strategy team.

DeMatteis spent eight years at WeWork, joining as deputy general counsel in 2015 before becoming GC in October 2018 and CLO in January 2020, overseeing a team of hundreds of global legal personnel. He helped steady the ship during a turbulent period for the office leasing company that saw the ousting of founder and CEO Adam Neumann while also navigating the challenges of the Covid-19 pandemic, which significantly reduced demand for office space. 

As chief legal and strategy officer at DailyPay, DeMatteis will be responsible for all legal, compliance, regulatory, policy and corporate development functions.

DailyPay CEO Kevin Coop said: “As DailyPay enters its next phase of growth, we are prioritising new lines of business, international growth, product innovation with compliance at the core of our strategy, and support for our regulatory and policy efforts.”

He added that DeMatteis has been brought in to complement its existing legal and compliance leadership, which includes GC Vladimir Kleyman and chief compliance officer Jane Levine.

Prior to joining WeWork, DeMatteis spent almost three years as counsel at WilmerHale and four years as an associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore. 

DeMatteis said: “DailyPay is the clear market-leader in a new and exciting category, with incredible opportunity for further strategic growth and regulatory certainty.”

New York City-based DailyPay provides on-demand payroll services to businesses and their employees, allowing users to access their wages before their monthly payday.

In January, it raised $260m in debt financing from a group of lenders that included Barclays and SVB Capital, the venture capital and credit investing arm of Silicon Valley Bank, which collapsed following a bank run earlier this month.

Send your in-house appointment news to Ben Edwards, [email protected]

Levi’s names new GC as veteran CLO announces retirement

Global fashion brand Levis Strauss & Co has appointed David Jerdzejek as its new general counsel following the retirement of chief legal officer Seth Jaffe, who will step down at the start of June.

Jerdzejek has been with the jeanswear company for the past seven years, most recently serving as deputy GC. In his new role, Jerdzejek will be responsible for all legal matters at the company, including governance, commercial transactions, litigation, IP, ethics and enterprise risk management. He will also provide counsel to the board of directors and sit on Levi’s executive leadership team.

Chip Bergh, CEO and president of Levi’s, said: “David is a strong, values-based leader who has proven his deep expertise in protecting our business, our brands and our people throughout his tenure on the legal team. I have no doubt that David will continue to be an invaluable counsellor and advocate in his role as general counsel, championing our commitment to profits through principles while ensuring compliance and good governance at all levels of the organisation.”

Prior to joining Levi’s, Jerdzejek spent 10 years as associate GC at fashion retailer Gap, having started his career in private practice at Pillsbury Madison & Sutro (now Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman) before moving to Wilson Sonsini Goodrich & Rosati, where he spent six years. At Levi’s, Jerdzejek was previously chief counsel for finance, governance and compliance before becoming deputy GC in 2021.

Jaffe, meantime, is retiring after 26 years at Levi's, playing a key role in the company’s turnaround following Bergh’s arrival in 2011, as well as securing the naming rights for Levi’s Stadium (home of NFL team San Francisco 49ers), overseeing the company’s initial public offering in 2019 on the New York Stock Exchange and supporting its acquisition of Beyond Yoga in 2021.

Bergh said: “I feel so fortunate to have had Seth by my side since I joined [Levi’s] 11 years ago. Seth has been a trusted advisor and invaluable partner to me, providing guidance, counsel and a second opinion on matters far beyond the legal realm.”

Smithfield Foods promotes deputy GC

US meat producer Smithfield Foods has promoted Tennille Checkovich to general counsel, reporting to existing chief legal officer Mike Flemming.

Checkovich has been with Smithfield since 2020, joining as deputy GC from McGuireWoods, where she spent 16 years, most recently as a partner in its business and securities litigation department. Smithfield is her first in-house role. As GC she will be responsible for managing all litigation, risk mitigation and regulatory matters.

Prior to joining McGuireWoods, Checkovich spent two years as an associate at Cravath, Swaine & Moore. Flemming was previously GC before being promoted to CLO, leaving the GC role empty.

Checkovich’s appointment was part of a twin leadership shake up that also saw the arrival of Isham ‘Jay’ Bennett in a newly created role as chief human resources officer.

Shane Smith, president and CEO of Smithfield, said: “Jay’s human resources leadership in the manufacturing industry is unparalleled, and Tennille’s continued work to elevate Smithfield's culture of legal and regulatory compliance has been exemplary. I look forward to their contributions to enhancing Smithfield’s high-performance culture and legal and regulatory compliance aligned with our business strategy.”

Smithfield – which is owned by Chinese pork company WH Group – is known for US food brands including Nathan’s Famous hotdogs, Eckrich and Gwaltney. Last year the company paid out $42m to settle a law suit with a group of restaurants and caterers that accused the meat producer of conspiring to inflate pork prices.

The latest additions to the leadership team follow a wave of executive departures in recent months, including CFO Glenn Nunziata and chief operating officer Brady Stewart.

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James Fisher and Sons confirms new GC

London-listed marine engineering business James Fisher and Sons has appointed former Schlumberger GC Jean-François Bauer as its new group GC.

Bauer will take on the responsibility for the company’s legal and compliance function across all of its locations and will report directly to CEO Jean Vernet. He will also sit on the company’s executive team.

Vernet said: “We welcome [Bauer’s] legal expertise to the group, not least in terms of his valuable experience within the energy sector. Jean-François will play a key role in helping us deliver on our business priorities and commitments to stakeholders.”

Bauer brings with him more than 30 years of in-house legal experience, 29 of those at global oil services company Schlumberger. He held a variety of legal positions in Venezuela, Argentina, Russia, Dubai and the US before becoming group GC in 2015, based in London. He also held subsequent roles as GC for new ventures and GC for commercial and contracts. After leaving Schlumberger in 2021, he spent a year as interim group GC at Aberdeen-based international oil and gas services business KCA Deutag.

Bauer replaces former GC Jim Marsh, who left in December to join Stafford Capital Partners. Vernet himself is a fairly recent arrival, having started in September following his departure from John Crane, where he was also CEO. His predecessor Eoghan O'Lionaird will remain a James Fisher employee until June to ensure a smooth transition.

London banking unicorn hires Paul Hastings lawyer for GC job

UK banking startup The Bank of London has hired Paul Hastings corporate lawyer Sam Waite as its new group general counsel and company secretary.

Tech-powered The Bank of London was set up in 2020 to provide clearing, agency and transaction banking services. It has raised $160m in total funding following an extension of its Series C funding round in February, which valued it at more than $1bn.

Waite spent almost eight years at Paul Hastings as an associate in its corporate M&A practice, having joined from Simmons & Simmons where he started his career back in 2012. The Bank of London is his first in-house role. He will be responsible for leading the bank’s legal function and helping to develop its strategy and international commercial growth.

Rebecca Skitt, co-president and group chief administrative officer, said: “Sam is a highly experienced legal professional with an extensive corporate track record across all aspects of UK corporate law and governance matters… we look forward to benefitting from the valuable knowledge and experience he brings.”  

The Bank of London is the UK’s sixth clearing bank and only the second to launch in 250 years, following the arrival of ClearBank in 2017.

The bank has made a number of high-profile hires in recent months to strengthen its c-suite. Those included Gavin Hewitt, former CFO for Silicon Valley Bank’s UK arm, who joined as group CFO in December, and Marc Jenkins, who joined as UK CFO from Metro Bank, where he was previously deputy CFO and acting CFO.

U-Haul replaces 18-year GC veteran

US moving and self-storage company U-Haul has named Kristine Campbell as its new general counsel following the retirement of 18-year GC veteran Larry De Respino.

Campbell has been with Phoenix-based U-Haul since 2011, previously as assistant GC and most recently as director of litigation. She will take on her new role from May 12.

Joe Shoen, CEO of U-Haul, said: “Kristine has many years of U-Haul know-how that will serve her well in this new role. She has my total confidence to continue building on the successes that Larry and the legal team have achieved.”

Prior to joining U-Haul, Campbell spent almost nine years at Greenberg Traurig, where she worked as a class action and commercial litigation attorney.

De Respino said: “[Campbell] is a natural leader who is well respected by her peers and fellow team members. She approaches her job with thoughtfulness, diligence and a high level of competence. She’s a creative thinker who attacks issues and challenges with a can-do attitude.”

De Respino joined U-Haul in 2000, becoming litigation director in 2002 before being promoted to GC. Prior to his time at U-Haul he worked in private practice as a litigation partner at Streich Lang (now Quarles & Brady).

Shoen said: “For the last 18 years as general counsel, Larry has protected the company and provided consistent, sound counsel that has advanced our objectives.”

Campbell said she wants to continue representing U-Haul in the best and strongest way possible in the legal arena.

She added: “I’m also motivated to grow U-Haul legal’s relationships with team members across our network, fostering open communication with the field teams caring for our customers, as well as our many departments here at corporate headquarters.”

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