BarkerGilmore Recruits General Counsel for Ardent Mills

February 2, 2024 – Legal recruiting continues to be a hot area for search firms. Lawyers employed by government agencies in particular have been on the move in recent months. Demand for legal work is expected to be robust as individuals, businesses, and all levels of government require legal services in the U.S. and internationally. Boutique search firm BarkerGilmore, which specializes in building corporate legal and compliance teams, has assisted in the recruitment of Kate Kimball as general counsel, corporate secretary, and chief compliance officer of Ardent Mills in Denver, CO. John Gilmore, Sarah Sullivan, and David Rolla led the assignment.

“We are thrilled to have Kate join us as we continue to evolve and grow as a company,” said Dan Dye, CEO of Ardent Mills. “Kate’s expertise in legal and regulatory matters, specifically related to manufacturing and environmental, social and governance, will be a tremendous asset to our team. Furthermore, Kate is a mission-driven individual who shares Ardent Mills’ commitment to our core values.”

Ms. Kimball joins Ardent Mills with over 15 years of legal and regulatory experience in both the public and private sector. Most recently, she was associate general counsel of Ball Corporation, a Colorado-based sustainable packaging company. Prior to that, Ms. Kimball was an associate with law firms Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and Bingham McCutchen.

In this new role with Ardent Mills, Ms. Kimball will oversee all legal and compliance matters for the company, in addition to serving as an advisor to and secretary of Ardent Mills’ Board Of Managers. “Ardent Mills’ dedication to sustainability, innovation, and driving positive change aligns seamlessly with my own values, making the company a natural fit for me,” said Ms. Kimball. “I look forward to working with this dynamic team to navigate legal complexities and advance the company’s long-term, sustainable growth strategy to fortify its position as a leader in the North American milling and ingredient industry.”

As a flour-milling and ingredient company, Ardent Mills’ mission is to cultivate the future of plant-based solutions. The company operates in more than 40 locations that specialize in flour, quinoa, pulses, and organic and gluten-free products that drive emerging nutrition and innovation across plant-based ingredients. Ardent Mills employs more than 100 certified millers and support thousands of local jobs that contribute billions of dollars to local economies.

Related: BarkerGilmore Recruits General Counsel for Malta

BarkerGilmore is a boutique firm specializing in executive search and selection in law and compliance. With a network of advisors and recruiters spanning the U.S., BarkerGilmore consistently places talent at leading consumer, energy, financial, healthcare, industrial, and technology companies.

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Mr. Gilmore, co-founder and managing partner, has over 30 years of executive search experience. He has developed trusted relationships with general counsel and C-suite leaders across the country. With a profound institutional understanding of how in-house legal and compliance departments function most effectively, Mr. Gilmore has earned a reputation as one of the top executive search consultants for general counsel and chief compliance officer placements.

Inside the High Demand for General Counsel Leaders
The legal and compliance market is booming. The number of in-house lawyers and law firm partners with aspirations of becoming a general counsel is at an all-time high. Unfortunately, landing the position is a challenge. Every search has specific criteria established by the executive leadership team and board which must be met. Some of the criteria could include specific industry experience or business knowledge, a background in public company securities and governance, as well as expertise in regulatory, compliance, litigation, M&A, employment/labor law, intellectual property, government relations, leadership, career track record, law firm training, law school ranking, and the list goes on, according to Robert Barker, co-founder and managing partner of BarkerGilmore, which specializes in building corporate legal and compliance teams.

“Keep in mind cultural fit and soft skills which cannot be found on the resume are equally important,” he said. “And diversity can play a major factor in the CEO and board’s final decision. Most are using the general counsel position as a means of adding diversity to the executive leadership team,” he added. The demand for excellence is understandable as the general counsel plays such a critical role. One wrong answer or move during the interview process can lead to immediate disqualification. “Even after an offer is made, any red flag demonstrating a lack of judgment or ethics discovered during the background investigation will lead to a retraction,” said Mr. Barker.

Bob Barker is co-founder, managing partner, and chair of the industrial practice at BarkerGilmore. He brings over three decades of executive search and international business experience to his clients. Mr. Barker has successfully managed general counsel and chief compliance officer engagements for mid-sized to Fortune 500 companies, including consumer, energy, financial, healthcare and life sciences, industrial, non-profit, technology, and private equity industries. Clients rely on Mr. Barker for advice and counseling both during and after the engagement.

Ms. Sullivan is a managing director and chair of the women & diversity practice at BarkerGilmore. She is focused on building long-standing relationships with senior executives in major public and private organizations nationwide. Ms. Sullivan is regularly retained on large, confidential general counsel, deputy general counsel, and chief compliance officer engagements. She also manages niche senior counsel and assistant/associate general counsel roles.

Mr. Rolla is a senior director at BarkerGilmore, where he collaborates with clients to strategically build out their legal and compliance teams with senior talent.  His experience includes working with both for-profit and non-profit organizations. As an attorney, Mr. Rolla has worked with domestic and global private and public companies across myriad industries, including private equity, venture capital, finance, technology, communications, energy, healthcare, gaming, cannabis, and consumer goods and services, among others.

Related: BarkerGilmore Recruits Chief Compliance Officer for ChristianaCare

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Executive Editor; Lily Fauver, Senior Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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