Around the house: newly-public Utz Brands names first general counsel

This week's collection of top in-house appointments also sees First Citizens Bank add a new legal eagle ahead of a merger with CIT Group

Utz Brands' first GC Theresa Robbins Shea Image courtesy of Utz Brands

Utz adds first general counsel

Newly-public US snacks maker Utz Brands has made Theresa Robbins Shea its first general counsel. CEO Dylan Lissette said that Shea, who will also serve as executive vice president and corporate secretary, brings “a deep and broad pool of legal and compliance knowledge” to the company.

Utz went public last August after agreeing to merge with Collier Creek Holdings, a listed investment firm created by former Pinnacle Foods and Kraft executives to buy up consumer goods companies. Shea’s hire is part of a broader expansion to Utz’s leadership team since its listing, which included creating the role of chief growth officer and EVP and filling it with Shane Chambers, the CEO of a company it acquired last year. It also promoted Mark Schreiber to EVP of sales and chief customer officer.

Shea will lead the legal team for Hanover, Pennsylvania-based Utz and serve on the executive leadership team, reporting directly Lissette. She joins after nearly 14 years at hardware wholesaler True Value Company in Chicago, where she served initially as assistant general before becoming vice president and general counsel in 2018. While at True Value, she also served as executive sponsor for the inclusion and diversity council and also led the internal Covid crisis team.

Prior to True Value, she held the role of senior counsel at United Airlines for five years and worked as an associate at Seyfarth Shaw in Chicago.

US attorney for First Citizens Bank ahead of merger

Former US attorney Matthew Martin has been made chief counsel for First Citizens Bank in Raleigh, North Carolina. Its Nasdaq-listed parent company First Citizens BancShares is set to merge this year with CIT Group, creating a bank with more than $110bn in assets.

In the newly-created role, Martin is responsible for overseeing the company’s corporate and general bank legal functions, litigation management and advising executive management and its corporate board on legal matters. He will also hold the position of corporate secretary to the First Citizens BancShares board of directors.

Chief risk officer Lorie Rupp highlighted how Martin’s background aligns with the expected direction of the company, having “advised on major corporate integration projects” and as a former partner at a North Carolina firm that serves financial institutions.

Prior to joining First Citizens, Martin spent three years as US Attorney for the Middle District of North Carolina. He was the chief federal law enforcement officer for the district, which encompasses 24 counties and approximately three million people in central North Carolina. Before that, he was associate general counsel at Duke Energy, where he was responsible for litigation, risk management and dispute resolution, and was also a partner with the law firm of Smith Anderson in Raleigh. He began his legal career with a two-year stint in the Washington DC office of Covington & Burling.

SOS International adds defense and technology veteran 

Reston, Virginia-based SOS International, a middle-market government services integrator that works principally in the defense and intelligence sectors, has found a new general counsel in Michael Garson.

Garson, who is based in Reston, Virginia, brings with him more than two decades of experience in the defense, technology and telecommunications industries. He served as executive vice president, chief administrative officer and general counsel for US federal government telecoms provider LGS Innovations for a decade prior to its merger with CACI. Before that, he was general counsel for the US government solutions business at Lucent Technologies, now part of Nokia, for three years. He has also run his own consulting business and served as senior managing director of Ankura Consulting in Washington DC, where he assisted clients with strategic planning, internal controls development, organisational restructuring, process efficiency and compliance-focused national security and government contracting.

SOSi has also added a new vice president for contracts. Kimberly Parker has joined the company from Applied Insight, a tech solutions provider for the federal government, where she worked as the chief administrative officer, corporate secretary, and vice president of contracts, ethics and compliance.

SOSi president and CEO Julian Setian told ExecutiveGov Garson and Parkers are leaders with “proven success in our industry,” adding that they “will undoubtedly raise the bar in our legal and compliance departments and provide best-in-class support for our customers while optimising business performance.”  

Bank of America alum for luxury retailer

Hannah Kim is set to be chief legal officer, corporate secretary and chief compliance officer for Dallas-based luxury retailer Neiman Marcus Group.

Kim will begin her new role 26 July and will oversee legal and compliance to promote the overall business strategy as a member of the executive team.

"We are thrilled to welcome Hannah as we build momentum on our integrated luxury retail strategy,” said NMG CEO Geoffroy van Raemdonck, adding that Kim has “helped to establish innovative solutions for consumer-focused companies and brings extensive corporate law experience from leading brands.”

Kim’s career in global corporate law has focused on advising organisations through compliance, acquisitions, reorganisations and leadership transitions. She was most recently chief legal officer at Energizer Holdings, where she was responsible for legal, compliance, ethics, regulatory, and government affairs, and before that served in senior roles at Bank of America and Lowe's Companies. She started her law career at Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein and Alston & Bird.

NMG also highlighted Kim’s experience leading environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategy, an area of increasing importance to the company as it prepares to announce its three-year ESG strategy later this year.

Compliance heavyweight joins Arctaris

Arctaris Impact Investors has named Bain Capital alumni Alan Halfenger as general counsel and chief compliance officer. The Boston-based venture capital and private equity firm invests in low-income communities across the US through seven funds.

Arctaris founder and managing partner Jonathan Tower highlighted Halfenger’s “breadth of private fund compliance and legal expertise”, adding that “given our firm’s focus on revitalising underserved communities in partnership with government agencies and foundations, Arctaris takes regulatory compliance seriously.”

Starting in 2007, Halfenger spent eight years as global chief compliance officer at Bain Capital, a leading multi-asset alternative investment firm with $120bn in assets under management. In this role, he led the development of the global compliance, risk and control functions for the private equity, venture, credit, impact and hedge fund affiliates. He was most recently MD at Washingto DC-based management consultancy Treliant, where he assisted corporate clients with their compliance and risk management needs. His career has also included six years in legal and compliance roles at JP Morgan and a stint as a regulatory consultant for Price Waterhouse.

Arctaris said it will announce further additions to its leadership team in the coming weeks.

Tonal adds first legal chief

Home fitness tech company Tonal Systems, which became a unicorn earlier this year after closing a Series E funding round that valued it at $1.6bn, has named Andrea Soria as its first director of legal. The San Francisco-based company produces on-the-wall gym equipment that costs around $3,000.

Soria began her career 20 years ago as an associate at Californian firm McManis Faulkner and then had a stint as general counsel for Intero Real Estate, one of the biggest residential real estate brokerages in Silicon Valley. She was hired by video game maker Glu Mobile in 2009 as a corporate counsel and over the next decade worked her way up to the deputy GC role. She next spent 18 months as head of legal for Calm, maker of the sleep and meditation app of the same name, which has subsequently hired Stripe’s former head of corporate affairs and IP Jacques Lehot as its general counsel.

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