|News In Brief:|
Leading take-and-bake pizza chain appoints new GC
Pizza chain Papa Murphy's International has named Victoria Blackwell as its new general counsel. Blackwell, who has worked as a corporate attorney since 2000, was instrumental in the company's expansion into British Columbia. With five stores already operational in the province, Papa Murphy's plans to add 11 more by the end of the year. Blackwell is also responsible for overseeing legal matters and franchisee agreements for the company, which has more than 400 franchisees across the U.S. Before joining the pizza chain, Blackwell worked for KinderCare Learning Centers, where she was associate counsel of real estate. At KinderCare, Blackwell was involved in negotiating and closing real estate transactions. The pioneer of the take-and-bake concept, Papa Murphy's has more than 880 stores in 32 states.
Global breast cancer network names new VP and GC
An organization of breast cancer survivors and activists, Susan G. Komen for the Cure has named Kimberly Simpson as its vice president and general counsel. Simpson will be responsible for managing legal matters for the organization and its 125 affiliates. Serving as secretary to the Komen board of directors, Simpson will provide counsel to the board and senior management on legal issues. As a member of the senior leadership team, she will also oversee internal audits and risk management work for the organization. Simpson joins Komen from Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children, where she was vice president and general counsel. Apart from her legal background, she also has diverse marketing experience. Susan G. Komen for the Cure leads a global breast cancer movement fighting to save lives and ensure quality care for all.
Cardero appoints new VP and GC
Cardero Resources Corporation has announced that mining lawyer Lawrence W. Talbot will be its new vice president and general counsel. Talbot, who has been the director of Cardero since 2003, has more than 20 years' experience in the mining industry. He has represented top mining companies, mid-sized explorers, and individual prospectors. Earlier, Talbot was a partner in a large Canadian firm, and he has significant experience counseling public natural resource companies. He has provided advice regarding mineral property transactions and financings, securities and regulatory issues, and matters pertaining to corporate acquisitions and divestitures. A well-financed company, Cardero evaluates new gold, copper, and iron projects.
GE's legal department named winner of "Best Legal Department" competition
In its second annual "Best Legal Department" competition, ALM's Corporate Counsel® magazine has announced General Electric Company's in-house lawyers as the winners for 2007. Legal departments of Accenture Ltd., J.C. Penney Company, Inc., and Allstate Corporation were also named as finalists. The selections were made by the magazine's editors and reporters who evaluated filled questionnaires submitted to general counsels of Fortune 500 corporations. GE's legal department, which consists of 1,225 attorneys, was selected for its particular capability to be both a visionary and an implementer. Supporting six varied business groups internationally, the department was distinguished as a top litigation practice. It was also recognized as the leader in the management of outside counsel, and for the use of technology to the envy of law offices worldwide. The May issue of the magazine, now out, is slated to print the profile of the winner and the finalists; the same can also be accessed on www.corpcounsel.com.
Mining equipment leader names new GC
The board of directors of Joy Global Inc. elected Sean Major as the company's new general counsel. Major joined the company in January 2007, as executive vice president. Prior to joining Joy Global, he was assistant general counsel and assistant secretary at Johnson Controls, Inc. At Johnson, Major was appointed to a number of important legal positions. Major's in-house career started at Abbott Laboratories, prior to which he worked for law firms in Chicago and Tokyo. Milwaukee-based Joy Global is a world leader in the business of mining equipments. It manufactures, services, and distributes surface mining equipments through P&H Mining Equipment and underground mining equipment through Joy Mining Machinery.
UK based Cambridge Display Technology appoints new GC
Cambridge, U.K.-based and Nasdaq-listed Cambridge Display Technology has appointed Hilary Charles as its general counsel. Charles comes from nCipher, a U.K. technology company, where she was general counsel. With experience in the U.S., U.K., and Japanese markets, Charles has specialized in the areas of technology licensing, patent licensing, and joint venture deals. She has also earlier worked in ARM, where she was instrumental in navigating the company's IPO on both the London and Nasdaq stock exchanges. Established in 1992, Cambridge Display Technology is a leader in the development of light emitting polymers (P-OLEDs).
Sunesis Pharmaceuticals announces novel Sr. VP, GC and Corp. Secy.
Sunesis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. has announced that Valerie L. Pierce will be the company's Senior Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary. Reporting to Daniel N. Swisher, Jr., Chief Executive Officer and President, Pierce will oversee all legal matters for the company. She joins Sunesis from the Institute for OneWorld Health, a nonprofit pharmaceutical company. At OneWorld, Pierce managed all legal issues including negotiating agreements, and advising the management. She brings to the company more than 15 years of experience primarily in corporate law related to the biotechnology and pharmaceutical industry. Sunesis is a clinical-stage biopharmaceutical company specializing in the research, development, and commercialization of novel small molecule therapeutics for oncology and other serious ailments.
SEC may sue Nancy Heinen, ex-Apple GC, for backdating stocks
The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) may prosecute Nancy Heinen, Apple Inc.'s former General Counsel for allegedly backdating two stock option grants. These include a stock option grant to Chief Executive Officer Steve Jobs for 7.5 million shares, and another earlier grant made to Jobs's executive team members. Incidentally, among large companies, California-based Apple is probably the largest company to have current or former employees sued by the SEC over claims of faking stock-option grant dates. In December, Apple declared that 6,428 option grants from 1997 to 2002 were backdated. This figure also included the fictional board meeting-approved grant made to Jobs. Heinen resigned suddenly last May. Two months later, Apple's internal inquiry, led by board member and former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, disclosed an investigation report into option backdating amounting to nearly $84 million. Though the company did not name its two former officers in the December SEC filing, it raised serious concerns regarding their actions in "connection with the accounting, recording and reporting of stock option grants." Holders benefit from stock options because it allows them the flexibility to buy shares at a later date. They also enable holders to buy at the market price on the day they were granted, which can inflate the value of the stock if backdated to a day with low prices. However, it may also conceal costs from shareholders and regulators, which is illegal.
Raser Technologies hires top corporate lawyer
Richard D. Clayton has stepped in as the new general counsel and secretary for Raser Technologies. Clayton, who has 25 years of experience, has come from Holland & Hart, LLP. He has specialization in areas including corporate finance, mergers and acquisitions, energy, and resources law. The company, which is in the process of developing geothermal power plants, expects to gain leverage from Clayton's energy and environmental expertise. In 2006, Clayton was among 227 lawyers included in the inaugural edition of Who's Who Legal USA—Corporate Governance. Raser Technologies is a technology licensing and development company with two business segments—transportation & industrial technology and power systems.
Israel-based Compugen announces new GC
Israel-based Compugen, Ltd., a drug discovery company with a wholly owned subsidiary headquartered in California, has announced the appointment of Rachel Bart as its new general counsel. Bart was earlier the assistant general counsel at Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, Ltd. She has worked in law firms in both the U.S. and Israel and has significant experience in corporate and transactional matters. Bart earned her J.D. from the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law in New York. Amos Meltzer, who was heading Compugen's legal department for the past five years, has relocated to Australia. Meltzer continues to serve the company as a consultant.