Appointments: November 2015
1) Bank of America has named David Leitch as global general counsel, beginning January 1, 2016. Leitch, who will succeed Gary Lynch, will be a member of the company’s management team, reporting to CEO Brian Moynihan.
Leitch has served as general counsel of Ford Motor Company since April 2005. During a career consisting of private practice and public service, he served as deputy White House counsel for President George W Bush, chief counsel for the Federal Aviation Administration, and deputy assistant attorney general in the US Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel. He was also a law clerk to the late US Supreme Court Chief Justice William H Rehnquist. In private practice, he was a partner in the law firm of Hogan & Hartson (now Hogan Lovells).
Leitch is a graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law and earned his undergraduate degree from Duke University.
Leitch is a member of the boards of directors of Talmer Bank and the U.S. Chamber Litigation Center. He is a trustee of the Supreme Court Historical Society, and also serves on general counsel advisory committees for the National Center for State Courts and the Civil Justice Reform Group.
2) Francis Buono has been appointed as senior vice president of legal regulatory affairs and senior deputy general counsel at Comcast Corp. He will report directly to senior executive vice president and chief diversity officer David Cohen and will become part of the senior leadership team in Comcast’s Washington, DC office.
Buono joins Comcast from Willkie Farr & Gallagher, where he most recently was partner and chair of the communications, media & privacy department and chair of the data privacy & security practice group. During his more than 25 years at Willkie Farr & Gallagher, he has represented cable operators, Internet service providers, video programmers, and equipment manufacturers in major FCC rulemakings, merger transactions, and congressional legislation (including the Telecommunications Act of 1996).
Buono earned a BA from Georgetown University and a JD from Georgetown University Law Center.
3) Lynn Charytan has been promoted to executive vice president and general counsel for Comcast Cable, succeeding Doug Gaston, who is retiring after 11 years in that role. She will report to Comcast CEO Neil Smit and
Charytan has been senior vice president of legal regulatory affairs and senior deputy general counsel for Comcast Corp since November 2010. In her new role, she will also continue to oversee regulatory compliance with the NBCUniversal transaction requirements and therefore will also have a dotted line reporting relationship to David Cohen, Comcast’s senior executive vice president in light of those her responsibilities.
Charytan joined Comcast in 2010 after spending 17 years at WilmerHale in Washington, DC, where she served as chair of its communications, privacy and Internet law practice group. Prior to joining WilmerHale in 1993, she spent two years as in-house counsel to The Washington Post. She also clerked for Judge Stanley Sporkin on the US District Court for the District of Columbia.
Among the accolades she has received for her legal skills, she has been ranked in the 2010 and 2011 editions of The Best Lawyers in America in the area of communications law, and ranked for several years running with the highest possible rating in Martindale-Hubbel’s Top Rated Lawyers list.
Charytan earned a BA degree from Columbia University and a Juris Doctor degree from Harvard Law School,
4) Microsoft has promoted Horacio Gutierrez to become general counsel, succeeding Brad Smith, who was recently appointed president and chief legal officer. Gutierrez will be part of a newly formed department, called corporate, external and legal affairs, and will continue reporting to Smith.
Gutierrez first joined Microsoft as a senior attorney in 1998. As deputy general counsel since 2006, Gutierrez led the company’s intellectual property legal team from 2006 to 2014, before moving over to products and services for the past year.
The structural changes are part of a broader initiative to put greater emphasis on privacy, security and external relationships, particularly with government agencies, universities and nonprofits.
Before joining Microsoft, Gutierrez spent four years as an international consultant at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and also served as vice president of structured finance at Vestrust Securities. He earned a JD from the University of Miami School of Law.
5) John Seethoff has been named as corporate secretary at Microsoft Corp, where, as vice president and deputy general counsel, corporate, for the past 14 years he has been responsible for managing the corporate secretary function. As corporate secretary, he is picking up Smith’s duties around corporate governance. Seethoff also manages a team that provides legal support to the company’s finance, information technology and operations functions and covers mergers, acquisitions and investments, benefits and executive compensation, corporate subsidiaries, in-bound commercial contracting, and real estate and facilities. Before joining Microsoft, he was a partner in the Seattle office of K&L Gates, where he represented businesses in a wide range of industries including technology, engineering, retailing, hospitality and real estate.
Seethoff is a member of the Washington and California bars and received his BS in accounting from the University of Washington and JD from the University of California at Los Angeles School of Law. He has previously served as chairman of the Society of Corporate Secretaries and Governance Professionals, and has chaired the Society’s policy advisory and nominating and governance committees and served on its executive steering committee. He was recognized in 2011 by NACD Directorship as one of the 100 most influential people in the boardroom community.
6) Shareholder Services Association (SSA) has appointed Abby Cowart as its first-ever executive director. She will report to the SSA’s board of directors.
SSA president Patrick Burke explained that a renewed commitment to advocacy and a desire to bring even greater value to SSA members led the SSA Board to its unanimous decision to invest in a full-time executive director. Important issues such as outdated transfer agent regulations, changes in escheatment rules and new and complex threats such as cyber risk all ‘bring a greater need for education and advocacy,’ he said.
Cowart joins SSA from TSYS, the credit card issuer and processor and merchant acquirer, where she served as senior investor relations analyst from January 2008. Her more than 11 years of experience also includes various other roles in the financial services, shareholder services and investor relations industries.
Cowart earned her BA from Columbus State University in Georgia, and her MBA from Liberty University in Virginia.