Around the house: SCAN Group hires Crowell & Moring partner for CLO, Sonnedix taps Smiths Group for new GC

This week’s roundup of top in-house moves also includes appointments at PROG Holdings, Sesame Workshop, LegalSifter and Go1

Renée Delphin-Rodriguez exits Crowell & Moring for SCAN Group Photo courtesy of SCAN Group

Crowell & Moring partner takes up CLO role at US healthcare group

US not-for-profit healthcare company SCAN Group has hired Renée Delphin-Rodriguez as its new chief legal officer and general counsel, replacing current GC Kevin Kroeker, who is retiring from the organisation.

Delphin-Rodriguez restarts her in-house career after four years at Crowell & Moring, where she was a partner in the firm’s Los Angeles office. She will lead the company’s legal affairs department as it seeks to expand across the US and grow its product offerings. She will also help manage SCAN’s proposed combination with CareOregon, which – pending regulatory approval – will rebrand the combined company HealthRight Group.

Sachin Jain, CEO of SCAN, said: “Renée Delphin-Rodriguez has a breadth of experience that is perfectly suited to lead SCAN’s legal team as we enter into our HealthRight transaction… In addition to experience overseeing complex legal transactions at several top law firms, she brings a deep knowledge of the workings of both health plans and providers, which will guide SCAN as we expand and diversify our offerings.”

Prior to her time at Crowell & Moring, Delphin-Rodriguez spent two years at SynerMed as GC and chief compliance officer and just under two years at DaVita HealthCare Partners, where she was assistant GC. She also had earlier stints in private practice at Munger Tolles & Olson and Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom.

She said: “The opportunity to help SCAN execute its commitment to keeping seniors healthy and independent is inspiring. I look forward to playing a lead role in expanding and preserving its non-profit ethos and bringing its focus on patient-before-profit care to new, diverse markets where we’ll play a key role in addressing those communities’ unique health needs.”

Kroeker departs after almost two years at SCAN. Like Delphin-Rodriguez, he also joined from Crowell & Moring’s Los Angeles office, where he had been since 2012.

Jain said: “Kevin has been a leader, a trusted advisor, a colleague and a friend. I appreciate his wise counsel and broad knowledge. All of us at SCAN will miss his guidance and presence in our offices.”

Sonnedix taps Smiths Group for new GC

Renewable energy producer Sonnedix has hired experienced in-house lawyer Mel Rowlands as its new group general counsel, replacing Marissa Corda.

Rowlands joins in London after almost a decade at global engineering company Smiths Group, roughly five of those as group GC, having been promoted from deputy group GC in 2018. At Smiths, Rowlands rebuilt the legal function and helped shape and deliver the company’s strategy as a member of its executive committee.

In a LinkedIn post, Rowlands said: ‘I am looking forward to joining the Sonnedix team who are playing a key role in the transition to renewable energy, harnessing the power of the sun and wind to create a sustainable future.’

Prior to joining Smiths Group, Rowlands spent just over two years as GC at British Gas, leading its legal, compliance and regulatory affairs functions. She was previously group director for legal and HR at vacuum and abatement business Edwards after it was bought by private equity firm CCMP Capital from German chemicals company Linde, having also served as GC at BOC Edwards before it was acquired by Linde in 2006 (becoming Linde's EMEA legal head during that time). Prior to that, Rowlands was deputy GC for corporate and downstream business at legacy oil and gas company BG Group (which was later acquired by Royal Dutch Shell).

Corda leaves Sonnedix after more than a decade, serving as GC since 2021. Corda initially joined the company in Miami from local law firm Katz Barron Squitero Faust, before moving to London in 2017 as global head of legal and compliance.

Fintech owner PROG Holdings promotes from within for new CLO

US fintech holding company PROG Holdings – whose businesses include Progressive Leasing, Vive Financial and Four Technologies – has promoted Todd King to the role of chief legal and compliance officer.

King has been with PROG since 2017, serving as chief corporate governance, securities law and M&A counsel. In his new role, King will be responsible for overseeing all of the company’s legal, compliance, risk management and government relations departments.

Steve Michaels, PROG’s president and CEO, said: “Todd’s deep legal and business expertise coupled with the collaborative role he has had in our success make him a great choice to lead our legal and compliance efforts.” 

Michaels added: “After working closely with him for more than seven years, I am confident that he will continue his exemplary performance as we continue to lead the way with inclusive, flexible and transparent financial products for consumers of all backgrounds.”

King’s previous in-house experience included stints as general counsel at PGT Innovations and deputy GC and chief compliance officer at Axiall (as well as assistant GC at Georgia Gulf Corporation before it became Axiall). He also spent more than five years as VP and division GC at The Schwan Food Company, having previously worked in private practice at Jones Day. He started his career as a law clerk for US District Court judge Harold Murphy.

Big Bird-producer Sesame Workshop promotes deputy GC as legal head retires

Sesame Workshop, the US non-profit educational organisation behind hit kids’ TV show Sesame Street, has promoted Valerie Mitchell Johnston to general counsel and executive vice president for legal and business affairs.

Johnston has been with Sesame Workshop since 2019 as senior vice president and deputy GC. She will replace existing GC Joseph Salvo, who is retiring at the end of next month. Johnston will also become board secretary and report directly to CEO Steve Youngwood.

Youngwood said: “Valerie is a brilliant, tactical and strategic lawyer with a deep understanding of the Workshop, its needs and what is necessary to keep this organisation on its trajectory of success.”

Prior to joining the Sesame Workshop for a second time, Johnston was deputy GC at the Lincoln Center for Performing Arts and vice president for legal and business affairs at HIT Entertainment. She previously spent more than a decade at Sesame Worksop as VP for legal and business affairs before leaving in 2009. She started her career in private practice at Paul Weiss before later moving to Proskauer Rose.

Salvo is retiring after eight years as GC at Sesame Workshop. He joined in 2015 from HIT Entertainment, where he was GC and assistant GC of parent company Mattel, which acquired HIT in 2012. Prior to that he spent two years as of counsel during a second spell at Weil Gotshal & Manges, having been an in-house music lawyer at Sony Music and Arista Records after his first stint at Weil, which he joined back in 1989.

LegalSifter hires legal innovator for GC role

US legaltech company LegalSifter has appointed Suzanne Porter as its new general counsel to support the business in its growth and strategic initiatives. 

Porter joins from the Arizona Supreme Court, where she spent almost three years as legal service innovations officer. There she developed, implemented and oversaw the court’s legal innovation projects in its certification and licensing division. At LegalSifter, Porter will manage the company’s legal affairs, including contract negotiations and intellectual property matters, and provide strategic counsel to the company’s executive team.

Kevin Miller, CEO of LegalSifter, said: “[Porter’s] deep intellectual property background, as well as her constant interest in entrepreneurial pursuits within the legal profession, are among a few of the characteristics that make her a terrific match for our team.”

Prior to her time at the Arizona Supreme Court, she spent almost four years advising startup founders on IP and business strategy. She was also previously director of professional graduate programmes at Osgoode Professional Development in Toronto and director of content for large law and corporate and public markets at LexisNexis. Those posts followed a four-year spell as an adjunct professor of law and research fellow at the University of Toronto. She started her career in private practice at White & Case before moving on to Chadbourne & Parke and then Heenan Blaikie.

She said: “LegalSifter's commitment to transforming the way contracts are reviewed and stored aligns perfectly with my passion for leveraging technology to solve complex legal challenges. I look forward to contributing to LegalSifter’s mission of empowering legal professionals and bringing affordable legal services to the world.”

Corporate training unicorn Go1 hires former Adobe counsel as GC

Australian corporate education and professional development platform Go1 has hired Stephanie Warner as its new general counsel.

Warner joins from software giant Adobe where she spent almost 13 years, most recently as associate GC based out of Utah. Warner has particular expertise in software licensing, legal writing and contract negotiation. At Adobe, she provided legal support to its Adobe Experience Cloud business unit. Warner announced the move on her LinkedIn page this week.

She said: ‘I am thrilled to be joining Go1 as general counsel to support the mission of providing the best learning opportunities to improve lives through education and training.’

Prior to joining Adobe, Warner spent just under three years at Salt Lake City-based trial boutique Stirba and Associates.

Brisbane-based Go1 has attracted funding from backers including Microsoft’s venture fund M12, Salesforce Ventures and Softbank’s Vision Fund 2. It raised $100m in fresh funding in June last year, valuing the company at more than $2bn. 

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