|News In Brief:|
Holston steps in as new GC at Hewlett-Packard
Hewlett-Packard has appointed Michael J. Holston to serve as its executive vice president and general counsel. Formerly a partner at Philadelphia law firm Morgan Lewis, Holston has worked extensively with Hewlett-Packard as external counsel for more than 10 years. He also served as a prosecutor in the criminal division of the U.S. Attorney's Office for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. In his new capacity as General Counsel of Hewlett-Packard, Holston will be responsible for legal affairs, compliance, ethics, privacy issues, and government affairs. In addition, he previously handled key legal issues related to Hewlett-Packard's pretexting scandal, which resulted in the resignation of Chairman Patricia Dunn.
Vincent P. Hatton new Corning GC
Corning Incorporated has elected Vincent P. Hatton to be its senior vice president and general counsel. Hatton will step into the shoes of William D. Eggers, who is retiring this month. Hatton will report to James B. Flaws, Vice Chairman and Chief Financial Officer. Hatton has more than two decades of experience in Corning's legal department. Corning Incorporated is a diversified technology company focusing on high-impact growth opportunities in the telecommunications, flat-panel display, environmental, life sciences, and semiconductor industries.
FibroGen appoints Sarah A. O'Dowd VP and GC
FibroGen, Inc., has hired Sarah A. O'Dowd to serve as its vice president and general counsel. O'Dowd spent more than two decades with prominent law firm Heller Ehrman, LLP, where she specialized in finance, securities, and corporate governance. In her new capacity, O'Dowd will join the company's senior management team and will also direct FibroGen's worldwide legal affairs. O'Dowd was a shareholder at Heller Ehrman and a member of its senior management. A biotechnology-based drug-discovery company, FibroGen hopes to gain leverage from O'Dowd's expertise and experience in order to continue its commercial growth through clinical development and expand as a leading provider of therapeutics.
Beazer Homes fires GC
Prominent Atlanta-based U.S. homebuilder Beazer Homes USA, Inc., has terminated the services of its executive vice president and general counsel, Kenneth Gary. The company stated that Gary had committed "violations of company policies." Gary joined Beazer in 2005 after leaving luxury homebuilder Toll Brothers, Inc. Beazer shares, which have fallen by 36% over the last year, are valued at $41.54 on the New York Stock Exchange.
Top general counsel find themselves in the line of fire
With evidence of stock-option backdating emerging at companies such as Apple, general counsel of top corporations continue to face the heat. Former General Counsel for Monster Myron Olesnyckyj has pled guilty to charges of backdating stock options; he is the second general counsel to be charged after William Sorin of Comverse was found guilty. Olesnyckyj, who was fired from the employment giant in November, may face a jail sentence and a fine of more than $5 million. Technology leader BEA Systems has demoted its general counsel, Bob Donohue, after allegations of stock-option backdating. He will continue to work for the company as vice president of the legal department. BEA Systems has yet to name a replacement general counsel. Federal authorities continue to investigate a number of companies across the U.S. where stock options have been selected from earlier dates to inflate their value.
WellPoint becomes the largest company with a woman at the helm
Health insurance leader WellPoint, Inc., has promoted its general counsel, Angela Braly, who will now serve as CEO and president. The move has made WellPoint the biggest Fortune 500 company with a woman at the helm. Braly replaces Larry Glasscock, who is stepping down from the post for family reasons. Glasscock will, however, continue to serve as chairman of the board. Braly joined WellPoint in 2005 from RightChoice, the parent company of Blue Cross Blue Shield, where she was president and CEO. WellPoint is the largest health-benefits company in terms of commercial membership in the United States. Along with traditional health-benefits solutions, the company offers specialty products such as life and disability insurance, pharmacy-benefits management, and dental, vision, and behavioral-health services.