Appointments: March 2016
1) Amerisure Mutual Insurance Company has named Joanne Finnorn as vice president and general counsel and she is also joining the company’s strategic leadership team. She will report to chief administrative officer Angela McBride.
Prior to joining Amerisure, Finnorn was general counsel at HouseSetter. She has also served as principal of Finnorn Law & Advisory Services, vice president and general counsel of OnStar; and general counsel of GMAC Europe in Zurich, Switzerland. She began her career as an attorney at General Motors.
Finnorn earned a BA in business and history from Alma College and a JD from Stanford Law School.
2) Iwona Niec Villaire has been appointed vice president and general counsel at Chassix, a privately held global automotive supplier of precision casting and machining solutions. She will report to CEO and president Doug DelGrosso,
Villaire joins Chassix from Cooper-Standard Automotive, where she was deputy general counsel and director of global compliance for the past nine years. Before that, she served as senior counsel with Federal Mogul Corp.
She holds a JD degree from Wayne State University Law School and a Master’s in education psychology and a bachelors degree in psychology from Wayne State University.
3) Hilltop Securities has appointed senior vice president Brian L Wittneben as general counsel. He replaces Allen R Tubb, who retired on February 29 after 12 years as general counsel but will continue to serve in a consulting role for an unspecified period of time.
Wittneben previously served as general counsel of First Southwest Company before its merger with HilltopSecurities in January 2016. He joined FirstSouthwest as vice president and associate general counsel in 2004 and was named senior vice president and general counsel in 2009. Prior to FirstSouthwest, Wittneben was an associate with Haynes and Boone.
He graduated with honors from Texas A&M University and Southern Methodist University School of Law.
4) Audrey Lee has been named executive vice president and deputy general counsel at Lionsgate, where she will report to Wayne Levin, chief strategic officer and general counsel.
‘As we continue to expand our global footprint, her relationships and expertise [intellectual property matters and content distribution worldwide] will help facilitate our growth and evolution,’ Levin said.
Lee joins Lionsgate after a 14-year career at Sony Pictures Entertainment where, as senior vice president of legal affairs, she managed an extensive department and oversaw all legal work relating to home entertainment and television distribution both domestically and in select international markets. Prior to Sony, she was associate general counsel at idealab!, serving as a strategic advisor to more than 15 operating companies. She began her career at Latham & Watkins, handling mergers and acquisitions, securities, and intellectual property transactions.
Lee received her JD from the University of Chicago and holds an MBA from UCLA, where she also earned an undergraduate degree.
5) Just five months after becoming Microsoft’s general counsel, Horacio Gutierrez has joined Spotify as its new general counsel. He succeeds Jared Grusd, who left the music streaming service last year to join AOL.
As part of a structural reorganization at Microsoft in November, Gutierrez had been promoted to succeed Brad Smith as general counsel soon after Smith’s appointment as president and chief legal officer. 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.
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.
6) Visteon Corp has named Brett Pynnonen vice president and general counsel. He replaces Peter Ziparo, who has left the company after more than 13 years of service and nearly two years as general counsel. Visteon designs, engineers and manufactures innovative cockpit electronics products and connected car solutions for most of the world's major vehicle manufacturers.
Pynnonen joins Visteon from Federal-Mogul Holdings Corp, a rival global automotive supplier, where he was senior vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary. Prior to joining Federal-Mogul in 2007, Pynnonen was general counsel and secretary of Covansys Corporation. Before that, he was an attorney at the law firm of Butzel Long, based in Detroit.
Pynnonen earned a bachelor's degree in business administration from Western Michigan University, and a juris doctor from The Ohio State University.