Around the house: new legal leaders for RumbleOn and Sportradar

The week's round-up of in-house hires also sees Fiserv's top lawyer move to GSR and Australian firm GHD promote one of its own to the new role of CLO

RumbleOn's Michael Francis and Sportradar's Lynn McCreary Images courtesy of RumbleOn and Sportradar

RumbleOn’s outside counsel makes in-house move

Listed e-commerce platform RumbleOn, which uses technology to simplify how dealers and consumers buy, sell, trade or finance pre-owned vehicles, has added outside counsel Michael Francis as its new general counsel.

According to a statement, Francis has worked with RumbleOn from the beginning, heading the company’s outside legal team at Miami-based law firm Akerman since before its launch in 2017. He guided the company’s IPO and NASDAQ listing and has most recently worked on its pending combination with motorsports dealership chain RideNow. 

“Michael’s understanding of our business coupled with his track record of success will be invaluable assets as we combine with RideNow to become the first omnichannel customer experience in powersports,” commented Marshall Chesrown, RumbleOn’s chairman and CEO. “In addition to driving growth by combining and scaling the legacy RumbleOn and RideNow models, we will be positioned to further consolidate the highly fragmented powersports industry. Michael brings unparalleled expertise and we are thrilled to welcome him to our leadership team.”

Francis joined Akerman in 1997, where his practice focused on guiding companies through corporate development initiatives including IPOs, debt and equity capital raises and M&A transactions, as well as serving as day-to-day corporate legal counsel for companies across various industries. He acted as a legal advisor to RumbleOn’s late CFO Steve Berrard for nearly 25 years, having worked with him at companies including AutoNation, Blockbuster and Jamba Juice as well as RumbleOn.

Francis also had a stint as in-house counsel to Lennar Corporation from 2005 to 2007 before returning to Akerman as a partner in 2008.

“While saying ‘see ya later’ to great partners and good friends is difficult, the opportunity to join Marshall and the RumbleOn team is exciting and such an amazing chance to build something truly transformative,” he said.

Sportradar finds new CLO ahead of potential IPO

Lynn McCreary has become chief legal officer at Sportradar, a fast-growing sports betting company based in St Gallen, Switzerland. A company spokesperson told Bloomberg Law that McCreary will remain in the US and be globally responsible for the company’s legal affairs.

McCreary spent the past 11 years at listed financial services and tech company Fiserv, where since 2013 she served as chief legal officer, chief ethics and compliance officer and corporate secretary. Prior to that, she was a partner with Bryan Cave and also acted as the managing partner of the firm’s San Francisco office.

Sportradar global CEO Carsten Koerl said: “We’re delighted to welcome Lynn to the Sportradar team. The depth and breadth of her legal, business and leadership acumen will prove invaluable to us as Sportradar enters its next phase of exciting growth.”

McCreary joins the company shortly after it ended deal talks with a special purpose acquisition company, with Bloomberg News reporting the company had decided to pursue a more traditional initial public offering instead.

Erickson veteran lands Eos Energy top legal job

Nasdaq-listed Eos Energy Enterprises, which provides sustainable zinc-powered energy storage systems, has appointed Melissa Berube as general counsel. Berube will oversee all legal, compliance and governance functions across the New Jersey-based organisation.

“We are pleased to welcome Melissa to the Eos family at this critical time for our business,” said Joe Mastrangelo, CEO of Eos. “She has the track record and experience to navigate the complexities of our industry, while also exuding the drive and commitment to make a significant impact on our future growth.”

Berube began her legal career with a four-year stint as a corporate attorney at Schwabe Williamson & Wyatt in Portland Oregon. In 2013 she moved in-house to global helicopter aerial services provider and manufacturing company Erickson, where she advanced to general counsel and senior vice president of legal and people. In this role, she provided guidance on a range of corporate legal matters, including, corporate financing, acquisition-related transactions, board relations and governance, compliance and labour and employment.

Insurance heavyweight for Corvus

Boston-based Corvus Insurance, which provides commercial insurance products powered by AI-driven risk data, has added Kori Johanson as general counsel.

Johanson brings more than 25 years of experience in legal, compliance and government affairs to Corvus, most recently serving as chief compliance officer and associate general counsel for IFG Companies, one of the largest privately-held insurance groups in the US. Prior to that she had a stint in the Detroit area as chief compliance officer at Atain Insurance, part of the HW Kaufman Group, and also spent two years as vice president and associate general counsel at PURE Insurance in New York. Earlier in her career she served in various senior legal and managerial roles at companies including Deloitte, Acord and Travelers.

“Insurance regulators are paying increased attention to cyber insurance as threats reach unprecedented levels,” said Johanson. “I’m thrilled to be joining a team like Corvus that designs and offers digitally enhanced solutions to help meet the needs of organisations managing cyber risk.”

Johanson participates in industry relations groups including as a member of the Legislative Committee for the Wholesale & Specialty Insurance Association and was previously a board member for both the Industry Education Council and the International Issues Task Force within the National Council of Insurance Legislators.

GSR names AQR general counsel as first CLO

London-based digital asset trading outfit GSR has made Eva Sanchez its first chief legal officer and has also named former JP Morgan compliance executive Eugene Ferrara as its chief compliance officer. The hires reflect a broader shift of professionals from top-tier institutions into the digital asset market, which is undergoing institutionalisation as asset managers, hedge funds and other players look to expand their investments and services in the space. 

Sanchez has joined GSR from a role as managing director, general counsel and head of international compliance at investment firm AQR Capital Management. Prior to that, she served as EMEA general counsel and head of compliance at American hedge fund and financial services giant Citadel. A linguist by background, Sanchez started her legal career at Clifford Chance advising clients from the firm’s London, Madrid and Milan offices.

Sanchez described the appointment as an “opportunity to be able to shape the future of this emerging asset class together with all the broader policy and macro-economic ramifications it entails. Above all, institutions are counting on their digital asset partners to deliver not only a seamless experience from an operational perspective, but to help lead the way in terms of regulatory compliance and policy. I’m looking forward to helping GSR continue building its reputation as one of the leaders in the space as well as expanding into new areas.”

Prior to JP Morgan, Ferrara was at Morgan Stanley and oversaw compliance for their futures and options trading operations. An expert in electronic trading compliance, he started his career as part of the market surveillance team of the now CME Group.

GHD veteran promoted to newly-created CLO role

Brisbane-based Denise Obst has been promoted to the role of chief legal officer at Australian professional services firm GHD.

According to Lawyer’s Weekly, the role of CLO is a new executive position that has been created in GHD’s enterprise management team. The Sydney-headquartered company provides engineering, architecture, and environmental consulting services and had revenue of more than $2.2bn in the 2020 financial year.

Obst has served in various senior legal roles at the company since joining almost 14 years ago, most recently as its general counsel in Australia and its integrity compliance officer. Earlier in her career the University of Queensland graduate was also a partner at Brisbane firm Chambers McNab Tully and Wilson prior to its merger with Corrs and Westgarth Middletons, which formed leading Australian commercial firm Corrs Chambers Westgarth.

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