14 November 2018

Around the house

Headlining a trio of the changes this week is Tesla, which loses a legal leader to a start-up just as the action with SEC heats up.

Just as the Tesla prepares to do battle with the SEC in a fraud settlement case, one of the firm’s most experienced securities lawyers has to join a start-up. Phil Rothenberg, a vice president in Tesla’s legal department, became general counsel at Sonder, a hospitality startup, on Nov. 5. Mr Rothenberg  joined Tesla in 2011, and was previously an attorney-adviser for the US Securities and Exchange Commission and has extensive securities law experience. With fraud claims hanging over Tesla and Elon Musk, the SEC had required that the company hire or designate ‘an experienced securities lawyer’ to review all social media communications made by senior officers. Also in the agreement, the company last week replaced Mr Musk as chairman put director Robyn Denholm into the role.

JetBlue has appointed Brandon Nelson as its new general counsel and corporate secretary. Mr Nelson will lead JetBlue’s legal, ethics and compliance, cybersecurity, and environmental, social and governance (ESG) efforts. He will report to JetBlue’s chief executive officer, Robin Hayes. Mr Nelson joined JetBlue in 2005 and previously served as director, corporate counsel and assistant secretary before being promoted in 2009 to vice president, associate general counsel. He has served as general counsel on an acting basis since July 2018. Prior to JetBlue, Mr Nelson practiced corporate and business litigation law at firms in California and New York, including Shearman & Sterling.

Agricultural and food company Cargill has announced its new general counsel to succeed Laura Witte, who retired on May 31 after 33 years of service. Anna Richo will join Cargill on January 14, 2019, as general counsel, chief compliance officer and corporate secretary, and become a member of the executive team. Ms Richo most recently served as executive vice president and general counsel of UCB, a Belgium-based global biopharmaceutical company. She has extensive experience serving as legal counsel on science-based innovation and intellectual property matters, the firm says ‘makes her a strong addition to the Cargill team as we look to advance our supply chains through R&D and disruptive technologies.’ Ms Richo is also an expert on legal services, compliance and business ethics.