Round Up: General Counsel Moves

Big moves happened this week in the world of general counsel. FedEx chose a new GC. So did Caterpillar, the construction equipment manufacturer. Disney’s highly-compensated ($11.1 million a year) GC will stay on for two more years and two medical companies appointed top legal officers.

Here are some of this this week’s highlights:


• On Monday, McDermott International Inc., an oilfield logistics company reported that John Freeman, an industry veteran, was appointed general counsel, senior vice president and corporate secretary.

Freeman came to McDermott from Technip, another international energy extraction logistics company. Earlier in his career he briefly worked as a prosecuting attorney for the U.S. Office of Special Counsel, according to his Linkedin page. McDermott is a energy services company that regularly reports around $2.5 to $3.5 billion in revenue. They operate around the world, primarily building drilling rigs on land and off shore.


• FedEx announced they have chosen a new GC from within the company. Mark R. Allen will take the helm of the FedEx legal department starting in October, after the current GC Christine P. Richards retires in September. Allen has spent nearly his entire legal career at FedEx in different roles around the world. He has been stationed in Memphis, Toronto, Hong Kong and Brussels. FedEx reported a whopping $60 billion dollars in annual revenue last May.


• Caterpillar Inc. appointed Suzette M. Long as the company’s general counsel and corporate secretary. Long has lead Caterpillar’s law and public policy group since February. She brings nearly two decades worth of legal experience to the role, including nearly 12 years at Caterpillar, according to a company press release. Long joined the legal department of Caterpillar in 2004 and was named associate general counsel in 2011. Before she joined Caterpillar, Long practiced law in Phoenix, Ariz. with the firm Gallagher & Kennedy.


• For now, Disney’s general counsel is here to stay. Alan Braverman will remain in his role until at least July 2, 2019 according to SEC filings on Bloomberg Law. Braverman was named executive vice president and general counsel of Disney in January, 2003. Before that he worked at ABC as the head of their legal department and earlier in his career, Braverman was a partner at Wilmer, Cutler & Pickering (now WilmerHale), where he specialized in complex commercial and administrative litigation. Braverman’s contract includes a clause that grants him “a long-term incentive award having a target value of not less than 225% of his annual base salary at the end of the preceding fiscal year,” according to SEC filings.


• Two medical companies have acquired GCs.

DNA and gene analysis company 10x Genomics has appointed Eric Whitaker, former chief legal officer for cloud computing software company Nutanix, as general counsel. Previously, he was senior vice president and chief legal officer at San Disk where he led the development and deployment of its lucrative patent portfolio. Before SanDisk, Whitaker served as general counsel and corporate secretary for Telsa.


Curtis Oltmans will join Array Biopharma, a Boulder, Colo. based biopharmaceutical research company as the new general counsel. Oltmans comes to the company from Novo Nordisk Inc., where he served as vice president and general counsel. He has 25 years of experience in the biopharmaceutical industry in commercialization, litigation and regulatory affairs according to a company release.


• Outside of the corporate world, the Federal Communications Committee has a new acting general counsel. FCC Chairman Ajit Pai appointed Jennifer Tatel to the job. She has been with the FCC since 2009, and before that was an associate in Sidley Austin’s commercial litigation and disputes group.


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