Zendesk hires former Everlaw and Google lawyer to head up legal team

Shana Simmons takes up CLO role after former GC Shanti Ariker left last year for JFrog

US customer service tech provider Zendesk has hired Shana Simmons as its chief legal officer, filling its top legal role that has been vacant since the departure of general counsel Shanti Ariker last September.

Simmons joins from legaltech business Everlaw, where she was also CLO. At Zendesk, she will oversee the company’s legal function and help support the company’s strategy initiatives and corporate governance.

San Francisco-based Zendesk provides customer service software to help businesses improve their customer experience (CX). The company was originally founded in Denmark in 2007 before moving to the US in 2009.

Tom Eggemeier, CEO of Zendesk, said: “The CX industry is undergoing a fundamental transformation as next generation technology like AI becomes essential for meeting customer demands. Shana’s strategic insights and expertise will help us navigate the complexities of a rapidly changing marketplace. Her leadership will ensure our products are built responsibly and uphold our core values of trust, transparency and a commitment to our customers’ best interests.”

Simmons spent just over three and a half years at Everlaw, having previously been a senior counsel and head of cloud go-to market legal at Google. Prior to that she spent just over two years as an associate at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton in New York and London.

She said: “I’ve watched Zendesk’s evolution and can’t think of a more pivotal time to join an industry-leading company focused on doing the right thing by all our stakeholders. Legal strategy is important to every aspect of business, especially as we continue to lay a solid foundation for the use of AI in enhancing customer experiences.”

Ariker, meantime, left Zendesk to join software supply chain platform JFrog as CLO. She originally joined Zendesk in 2020 as GC and chief privacy officer from cloud communications company Twilio, where she was deputy GC. She also held in-house roles at Autodesk, Salesforce, Celestica, Logictier and E*Trade. She started her career in private practice at Cadwalader Wickersham & Taft before moving to now defunct firm Brobeck Phleger & Harrison. She also had a later stint at Reinhart Boerner Van Deuren as a litigation associate.

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