Around the house: Jack Daniels-owner names next GC, Cargill lines up CLO replacement from HPE

This week’s roundup of top in-house moves also includes appointments and departures at ITN, CVC Capital Partners, Deutsche Bank and SJI

Mike Carr will take over the GC role at Brown-Forman in May Photo courtesy of Brown-Forman

Jack Daniels-maker announces GC succession plan

US whiskey heavyweight Brown-Forman Corporation has lined up Mike Carr as its next general counsel, replacing Matthew Hamel who is set to retire in May.

Carr is currently Brown-Forman’s associate GC for regional and corporate development, and has been with the company for more than a decade. When he takes over from Hamel, he will be responsible for leading the company’s legal, compliance, risk and public affairs teams. He will also serve as company secretary.

Lawson Whiting, president and CEO, said: “Mike’s deep expertise and influence spans every market where Brown-Forman conducts business. He has been instrumental in overseeing legal affairs and providing sound, strategic legal guidance for large and complex matters.

“His leadership capabilities and unique mix of experiences within Brown-Forman, coupled with his background as an attorney and certified public accountant, have prepared Mike well for this role.”

Carr joined Brown-Forman in 2013 as a managing attorney for securities compliance, before becoming assistant GC for Europe in 2018 and taking on his current role in 2022. Prior to his time at the company, he had two spells at Nashville law firm Bass Berry & Sims and a short stint at Frost Brown Todd. He was previously a senior tax accountant at PwC.

Hamel, meantime, will retire after leading Brown-Forman’s legal department since 2007, having joined from Wall Street Journal-publisher Dow Jones & Company where he was an associate GC. He also spent more than six years as division GC at Colgate Palmolive and almost seven years as an associate at White & Case.

Whiting said: “Matt has led the global expansion of Brown-Forman’s legal department, further deepened our strong culture of ethics and compliance, and helped root key business decisions in our values. His counsel is evident not only in our daily practices and thoughtful corporate and board governance, but also in the long-term positioning and strategy of our company.”

Louisville-based Brown-Forman owns spirits brands including Jack Daniels, Herradura and Woodford Reserve.

Cargill taps HPE for next legal chief

US food and agriculture giant Cargill has named Rishi Varma as its next chief legal officer, replacing Anna Richo who is retiring later this year.

Varma will take up the role at the end of this month when he arrives from Hewlett Packard Enterprises (HPE), where he was general counsel and corporate secretary. His position at Cargill will also fold in the GC role, as well as the title of corporate senior vice president and chief compliance officer.

Brian Sikes, Cargill’s chair, president and CEO, said: “[Varma’s] commitment to operational excellence and ensuring this is achieved in compliance with the highest legal and ethical standards builds on our strong culture of integrity.”

Varma spent 11 years at HPE, the past six of them as GC having initially joined as deputy GC for corporate securities and M&A. Prior to that he was GC at TPC Group and GC at Trico Marine Services, which also included a spell as president and chief operating officer. Before his in-house career, Varma worked in private practice at defunct firm Brobeck Phleger & Harrison and legacy Rosenman & Colin.

Richo, meantime, will remain on at the company until September as a strategic advisor to the GC and CEO.

Sikes said: “Anna led with purpose and passion to transform and integrate our legal, compliance, government relations, corporate governance, security and shareholder relations functions to operate with a strong focus on the customer. Her contributions strengthened our diverse and inclusive culture and will leave a lasting mark on the company.”

ITN replaces retiring GC with Virgin Media O2 legal director

UK media company ITN has hired Zaffrin O’Sullivan as its next general counsel, replacing James Scorer who is retiring from the role.

O’Sullivan is joining next month from Virgin Media O2, where she is currently legal director. At ITN, she will lead the company’s legal department and have compliance oversight of ITN’s broadcast output, which will continue to be managed by ITN’s compliance team, led by John Battle KC (Hon). She will also provide strategic support to the business, particularly on contract matters, and work closely with ITN CEO Rachel Corp.

Corp said: “Zaffrin will bring energy, expertise and strong business acumen into our leadership team. Her experience in driving sustained commercial success and her dedication to inclusive leadership makes her a great fit for ITN, and we’re really excited to welcome her to the company.”

O’Sullivan spent two years at Virgin Media O2 in its TV and entertainment business, having joined from UKTV, where she was director of business and legal affairs. Prior to that she spent 10 years as head of business and legal affairs for TV sales at BBC Studios, with earlier stints at Arqiva, BT, Endemol and Hewland International. She started her career as a trainee at legacy firm Denton Wilde Sapte.

She said: “ITN’s reputation for high standards of journalistic integrity, and commitment to delivering authentic, human-led stories, resonates deeply with me. I look forward to helping deliver ITN’s ambitious strategy for growth, and contributing positively to DE&I, wellbeing and culture.”

Scorer, meantime, steps down after 27 years with the company. Corp praised his “unwavering passion and dedication” and the pivotal role he played in ITN’s triumphs over the past three decades.

A&O’s Dutch head to take new CLO role at CVC

European private equity giant CVC Capital Partners has hired Brechje van der Velden as its chief legal officer, a newly created role.

Van der Velden is set to join from UK Magic Circle firm Allen & Overy (A&O), where she heads up its Amsterdam office. The new CLO role comes as CVC’s former general counsel Lauren Livingston announced her departure earlier this month. Van der Velden will also take on the chief compliance officer role when she joins at the start of March.

She has been with A&O for the past 18 years, joining as counsel before becoming a partner in its litigation and restructuring team in 2011 and then senior partner in Amsterdam in 2017. She has also been a member of its global executive committee since 2020.

Livingston, meantime, leaves CVC after 17 years (nine as GC) to start her own advisory and coaching company Compass Leading.

Writing on LinkedIn, she said: “I decided it’s time… to leverage all I’ve learnt from close to a decade as general counsel of the powerhouse that is CVC Capital Partners, over 20 years as a lawyer and extensive executive coach training to do more of what I love: helping professionals to lead and thrive.”

CVC Capital Partners has stakes in companies including Breitling, UnitedLex and the Women’s Tennis Association.

MoFo hires Deutsche Bank’s global sanctions head

Germany’s Deutsche Bank has lost its global head of sanctions advisory Chloe Cina to Morrison Forester (MoFo).

Cina will head up MoFo’s national security practice in London, bringing with her more than 18 years of legal and banking compliance experience.

John Smith, co-head of MoFo’s national security practice, said: “Chloe’s vast experience will be invaluable to our global clients, especially those in the UK, Europe, the United States and Asia, who are experiencing a dramatic increase in the pace of complex economic sanctions being imposed year-over-year.”

Cina spent more than five years at Deutsche Bank, almost three of them as global sanctions head. Prior to that, she was UK head of sanctions at HSBC and an assistant legal advisor in the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office. She also spent almost five years as a national security lawyer in the UK Government Legal Department.

She said: “Morrison Foerster’s reputation as the go-to firm for global sanctions, coupled with its unmatched government bench strength – with diverse backgrounds across major financial hubs worldwide, including the US, UK, EU, Hong Kong and Tokyo – were huge draws for me.”

SJI names Holland & Knight partner as GC

US energy infrastructure business South Jersey Industries (SJI) has appointed Timothy Lowry as its new general counsel.

Lowry joins from Holland & Knight, where he was a partner in its Philadelphia office. At SJI, Lowry will advise the CEO and board on all legal matters, as well as take responsibility for strategic leadership of the GC’s office.

Mike Renna, SJI president and CEO, said: “[Lowry’s] wealth of legal expertise and leadership will be invaluable as we drive innovation and operational excellence. He will be a strategic partner in navigating the dynamic landscape of our industry.”

Prior to his short time at Holland & Knight, Lowry spent more than 14 years as a partner at DLA Piper where his practice covered the gaming, entertainment and hospitality industries. He also had spells at Harrah’s Entertainment as senior corporate counsel and in private practice at Hill Wallack (as a partner) and Sandson & DeLucry (as an associate).

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