09 Sep 2021

Around the house: SoundExchange remixes legal leadership, Snap lands longtime Fox GC

This week's roundup of top in-house hires also sees a longtime Linklaters partner move to London VC firm Ahren Innovation Capital

Tim Dadson and Brieanne Jackson of SoundExchange Image courtesy of SoundExchange

SoundExchange remixes legal leadership

SoundExchange, the sole rights management company designated by the US Congress to collect and distribute digital performance royalties for sound recordings, has promoted Tim Dadson to general counsel in Washington DC. 

Dadson, who has been serving as SoundExchange’s deputy general counsel for the past four years after joining as assistant general counsel in 2012, is replacing incumbent GC Colin Rushing. Rushing is stepping down from the top job after 14 years with the company, according to a report by Billboard

During his time as deputy general counsel, Dadson played a key role in building the organisation’s legal practice and has taken the lead on a number of strategic initiatives. These include the formation of Music Speaks, the company’s political action committee, and the SoundExchange meditation program designed to assist artists in resolving royalty disputes. Before going in-house, he worked in private practice at Sidley Austin and Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld. 

As general counsel, Dadson will oversee the comprehensive legal functions of the organisation, including regulatory issues, enforcement programs, rate proceedings, corporate governance and compliance. He will also serve as SoundExchange's chief legal and will form part of the executive team reporting to Michael Huppe, president and chief executive officer.

"It is an exciting time at SoundExchange as we innovate technology solutions, grow our suite of fintech services and expand our data capabilities to empower creators," Huppe said. 

"Tim is an exceptional leader with more than two decades of experience that will help support our transformation by leading the legal team at this critical juncture. I look forward to working more closely with him as we continue to improve how the industry enables the creative community." 

Also moving up the ranks is Brieanne Jackson, who has been promoted to deputy general counsel from assistant general counsel. Jackson began her legal career as the assistant attorney general for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and later worked as a litigation associate at Ropes & Gray before going in-house as a licensing and enforcement counsel at SoundExchange in 2011. 

Jackson spent five years as the organisation’s senior licensing and enforcement counsel before her promotion to assistant general counsel for the department in 2019. She also co-chairs SoundExchange’s diversity, equity and inclusion committee. 

SoundExchange, which was created in 2003, collects and distributes digital performance royalties on behalf of more than 250,000 recording artists' and master rights owners' accounts and to date has paid more than $8bn in distributions. 

Snap nabs Fox legal chief

Snap, the parent company of popular social media app Snapchat, has hired Fox’s longtime legal leader Claudia Teran as vice president, deputy general counsel and global head of commercial. 

Teran joins Snap after just over two decades working for the US broadcasting giant, most recently as executive vice president and corporate general counsel of the mass media company in Hollywood. Before that, she held general counsel and deputy general counsel positions at Fox Sports, Fox Cable Networks and Fox Network Group, among others. She began her career as an associate at Sidley Austin before going in-house in 2000. 

In her new role, Teran will report to Snap general counsel Mike O’Sullivan and oversee the company’s commercial legal team, which supports its deals with outside partners, according to a report by Variety

Following Teran’s departure, Fox plans to promote former associate general counsel Elizabeth Casey to take on the top position. 

Linklaters partner heads to London VC firm 

Veteran Linklaters corporate partner Stuart Bedford has joined London-based venture capital firm Ahren Innovation Capital as general counsel. 

He brings with him more than three decades of experience advising corporate, venture capital and private equity funds on corporate transactions, listings and fund-raises across a range of technology verticals in Europe, Asia and Africa. 

At Linklaters, Bedford served in a number of leadership roles including global co-head of the firm's technology sector and steering committee member of Nakhoda, the firm’s in-house technology startup. His other roles included head of corporate in London, co-head of energy, head of corporate in Asia, and co-head of consumer. 

Before that, he spent two years as in-house counsel with BAE Systems before becoming a senior consultant at Grosvenor, a technology and outsourcing consultancy. Bedford awas also a partner and general counsel for technology-focused private equity firm Leapfrog Investments between 2016 and 2017. 

Founded in 2017, Ahren Innovation Capital has built itself into a prominent investment institution that supports early stage companies at the intersection of deep science and deep tech. 

Andreessen Horowitz lands crypto-focused GC

Andreessen Horowitz, a Silicon Valley-based venture capital firm, has hired Latham & Watkins corporate partner Miles Jennings as a cryptocurrency-focused general counsel. 

Jennings joins the firm after just over a decade at Latham, including five years in London followed by six years in the Bay Area. During his time with the Los Angeles-headquartered firm, he specialised in working with startups and investors in heavily regulated sectors such as life sciences and crypto, advising clients on matters including financings, acquisitions, token offerings and governance. He also co-chaired the firm’s global blockchain and cryptocurrency task force, which was composed of more than 80 lawyers around the world. 

Anthony Albanese, Andreessen Horowitz’s chief executive officer, said Jennings’ appointment is “critically important” to support the firm and its portfolio companies “as the crypto industry quickly matures and as we further scale our platform and invest in projects at the vanguard of crypto”. 

“In our experience working in crypto, we’ve observed that the builders in this space prize experienced subject matter experts who share their values, set the bar for excellence high, are intellectually curious, and are open-minded and creative,” Albanese explained.

 “This is exactly the kind of partner Miles has proven to be to the crypto community and we felt that, given the right platform, his impact in this space could be even bigger and more profound.”

Brainly hires first GC

Online learning platform Brainly has landed tech veteran Denise Ho as its first-ever general counsel and head of corporate development in San Francisco. 

Ho joins the New York-headquartered edtech company in the Bay Area after two years at Softbank, where she worked as a partner and deputy general counsel. Before that, she spent nearly five years in-house at Tesla in Hong Kong, including most recently as deputy general counsel and head of legal for the Asia Pacific. 

Prior to going in-house, Ho spent eight years as an M&A associate at Shearman & Sterling in London and Hong Kong and worked as an associate at EY in Vancouver and Berlin. 

“In this dual legal and business role, I hope to leverage my past experiences in new market expansion, building a team from scratch, interacting with regulators in different jurisdictions, cross-border M&A and audit/assurance,” Ho wrote on Linkedin

The startup saw its popularity skyrocket over the last year as Covid-19 lockdowns left students unable to attend school in-person, leading its user base to grow from 150 million users in 2019 to 350 million today, according to TechCrunch

From Dyson to Therme

Therme Group, a wellbeing organisation best known for its wellness resorts, has appointed Nicholas Cranfield as chief legal officer and executive vice president of corporate governance. 

Cranfield, who was most recently global legal services director at Dyson, will be responsible for the oversight of Therme’s legal risk and the delivery of services across the group’s network. He will also serve as a member of its executive board. Prior to his stint at Dyson, Cranfield worked as a legal director for Johnson Matthey in Shanghai. 

He joins Therme ahead of its planned opening of a wellness resort in Manchester, which it anticipates will be a ‘major economic driver for the Greater Manchester area’. The company’s other future projects are planned for development in the UK, mainland Europe, North America and Asia Pacific. 

Cranfield said: “I am delighted to join Therme Group as we look to achieve our ambition of redefining wellbeing and making it accessible to all. I am committed to establishing a legal team at Therme that, in collaboration with our external advisers, will partner with our business to enable rapid, sustainable and safe growth.”