Appointment: January 2014

Dec 16, 2013
<p>New developments at General Electric, Southwestern Energy, Warburg Pincus and Northrop Grumman.</p>

1) General Electric recently announced the appointment of Michael Silva as vice president, chief regulatory officer and compliance leader at GE Capital. He reports operationally to GE Capital chairman and CEO Keith Sherin and functionally to GE’s general counsel, Brackett Denniston.

Silva joins GE from the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, where he was most recently senior supervisory officer. He previously served as chief of staff to former Secretary of the Treasury Tim Geithner during Geithner’s time as president of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York. He also served in the Navy as an F14A naval flight officer.

2) Larry Tu has been named senior executive vice president and chief legal officer of CBS. Tu, who joins CBS after many years at Dell, is now headquartered in Los Angeles and reports to CBS president and CEO Leslie Moonves. He succeeds Louis Briskman, who has announced his retirement after more than 30 years with the firm.

Tu most recently served as general counsel at Dell in Austin, Texas, a position he held for more than nine years. Before that, he was general counsel of NBC Universal for three years, where he oversaw NBC’s acquisition of Telemundo, Bravo and Universal.
Prior to that he served as co-general counsel of Goldman Sachs Asia-Pacific, where he was based in Hong Kong. He practiced law for 15 years at O’Melveny & Myers, specializing in corporate finance and M&A, including five years as managing partner of the firm’s Hong Kong office.

Tu began his legal career as a law clerk for Judge Walter Mansfield in the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, and then for US Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall. He later served three years in the US State Department’s Office of the Legal Adviser, where he was responsible for international trade and investment issues while working extensively with other government agencies, and also served as a special assistant to the State Department’s legal adviser.

3) Southwestern Energy, an independent energy company whose wholly owned subsidiaries engage in oil and gas exploration and production, natural gas gathering and marketing, has announced the appointment of John Ale as senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary.  

Ale most recently served as vice president and general counsel of Occidental Petroleum. Previously, he was a partner with Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom and with Vinson & Elkins. He also served as a law clerk to Chief Justice Warren Burger of the US Supreme Court and to Judge Edward Tamm of the US Court of Appeals for the DC Circuit.

4) Private equity firm Warburg Pincus recently announced the appointment of Robert Knauss as general counsel and managing director. Knauss, who is now based in the firm’s New York office, oversees legal and regulatory matters and has joined the firm’s executive management group.

Prior to joining Warburg Pincus, Knauss was a corporate partner at the firm of Munger Tolles & Olson in Los Angeles, where he focused primarily on M&A, corporate finance and securities and private equity. He has worked across a wide variety of industries for clients including Yucaipa, Oaktree Capital Management, Lazard and Moelis. Before he joined Munger Tolles & Olson in 1981, Knauss served as a law clerk for Justice William Rehnquist of the US Supreme Court as well as for the Honorable Walter Mansfield of the US Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit.

5) Cooper-Standard Holdings, a leading global supplier of automotive sealing, fuel & brake and fluid transfer systems, has appointed Iwona Niec Villaire to the position of deputy general counsel and director of global legal compliance. She now reports to Timothy Hefferon, senior vice president, general counsel and secretary, and is based at the company’s headquarters in Novi, Missouri.

In her new position, Villaire maintains responsibility for a broad range of legal matters, including securities law compliance, financing, corporate governance, M&A, real estate transactions and oversight of the company’s legal affairs in Europe. In addition, she has joined Cooper-Standard’s corporate responsibility committee and co-ordinates the activities of the company and committee in ensuring continued compliance with Cooper-Standard’s code of business conduct and ethics, related policies and applicable laws on a global basis.

Villaire joined Cooper-Standard in September 2007 as associate general counsel. Previously, she served as senior counsel with Federal-Mogul, where she was responsible for corporate governance, securities, international transactions, restructuring and bankruptcy, regulatory compliance and employment law. Prior to this, she was an associate attorney at Jaffe Raitt Heuer & Weiss.

6) Emergent BioSolutions has announced the appointment of AB Cruz as executive vice president and general counsel. In his new role, he is responsible for managing all legal matters involving securities, corporate and regulatory transactions, as well as advising senior management on strategic and business issues. He also serves as chief compliance officer, responsible for overseeing risk and compliance systems and policies for the company’s global operations, as well as corporate secretary to the board of directors. Cruz, who recently retired as a rear admiral in the US Navy Reserve, reports to Daniel Abdun-Nabi, Emergent’s president and CEO.

Cruz most recently served as reserve deputy director of maritime operations at US Fleet Forces Command in Norfolk, Virginia. He served as chief legal officer and corporate secretary of Scripps Networks Interactive from 2008 to 2012, and as executive vice president and general counsel of EW Scripps from 2004 to 2008. He was vice president, deputy general counsel and assistant secretary at BET Holdings from 1999 to 2004, and prior to that he represented various clients for several well-established law firms in Washington, DC.

7) Northrop Grumman has named Charlton Walker as vice president, associate general counsel and sector counsel for its information systems sector. Walker reports to Sheila Cheston, corporate vice president and general counsel.  

In his new role, Walker leads the legal team of the information systems sector, providing counsel to the sector president and senior staff. He is responsible for managing the delivery of legal advice to all elements of the sector, including its multiple sites, programs and subsidiaries, across a wide range of legal matters involving government and commercial transactions, business development, investigations, environmental issues, intellectual property, employment and compliance.

Walker joined Northrop Grumman in 2002. He most recently served as an assistant general counsel in the information systems sector, where he was lead counsel for the defense systems division. Previously, he held various positions in Northrop Grumman’s electronic systems sector and in private practice. Walker began his legal career as a judge advocate in the US Air Force where, among other assignments, he served as acquisition counsel at the National Security Agency.

8) Kevin Handwerker has joined GAMCO Investors as executive vice president, general counsel and secretary. Via its subsidiaries, GAMCO manages private advisory accounts, mutual funds, closed-end funds and partnerships and offshore funds.
Handwerker joins GAMCO from Neuberger Berman, where he served as managing director and general counsel for 12 years.

Previously, he held senior positions in National Financial Partners and JPMorgan Investment Management. He began his law career at Shearman & Sterling, representing financial institutions and other entities in public and private financings, M&A and merchant banking transactions.

9) Ronald Robins has rejoined Vorys Sater Seymour & Pease as a partner in the law firm’s Columbus office after serving as senior vice president, general counsel and secretary of Abercrombie & Fitch. Robins also served as chief compliance officer at his former company. Prior to joining Abercrombie in November 2009, he was a partner at Vorys.

While at Abercrombie, Robins was responsible for oversight of the company’s entire domestic and international legal department, and addressed issues such as SEC disclosure, corporate governance, litigation strategy and board and committee matters. He also co-chaired the crisis management committee and actively participated in the firm’s international expansion efforts.

Robins now practices in the corporate group and focuses on transactions, general corporate law, corporate governance and general counsel services. He has been listed as a leading corporate and M&A lawyer in the Chambers USA guide and The best lawyers in America.  

10) Fresh from the completion of the company’s acquisition of SHFL Entertainment, Bally Technologies has appointed Katie Lever as senior vice president of legal and compliance, secretary and general counsel of the newly merged company. Lever was general counsel and executive vice president at SHFL Entertainment prior to the merger with Bally Technologies, which provides gaming machines, table-game products, casino management systems, interactive applications, and networked and server-based systems for the global gaming industry.

In her previous role, Lever was responsible for all legal and regulatory matters related to SHFL’s operations, including negotiating the $1.3 billion merger agreement with Bally, managing the company’s legal, intellectual property and compliance departments, and providing strategic legal advice for the company’s international and growing i-gaming business.

Prior to SHFL, she was the first general counsel and executive vice president of Global Cash Access, where she led the legal and compliance function for the gaming industry’s largest cash access provider. She created ongoing strategies to minimize risk, optimize controls and ensure regulatory compliance for this highly regulated NYSE-listed firm that straddles the gaming and financial services industries.

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