June 29, 2018 – Legal recruiting has largely been booming this year and, to that end, search firm Major, Lindsey & Africa (MLA) recently filled general counsel positions for Elanco Animal Health and American Tire Distributors (ADT). Michael B. Sachs and Heather Fine of MLA’s Midwest in-house practice group placed Michael-Bryant Hicks as general counsel and secretary at Elanco Animal Health, a division of Eli Lilly and Company that manufactures products for pets and livestock.
“Michael-Bryant has considerable previous experience as a general counsel, having advised companies on a range of domestic and international transactions, and has held in-house counsel positions of increasing responsibility within healthcare,” said Mr. Sachs. “He now oversees Elanco’s legal function, and through abundance of experience, brings a fresh perspective to the company.”
Mr. Hicks was previously general counsel at Mallinckrodt Pharmaceuticals, where he had executive responsibility for the legal function, including litigation, intellectual property, environmental, regulatory, mergers and acquisitions, and other general legal activities. Before that, he served as SVP, general counsel, chief compliance officer and corporate secretary of Providence Service Corp., a global provider of healthcare services. Prior to that, he served as assistant general counsel at DaVita Healthcare Partners Inc., a provider of dialysis services. Additionally, Mr. Hicks spent five years at Beckman Coulter, a provider of biomedical diagnostics instruments, where he was associate general counsel and head of legal support for the company’s Asia and Latin America operations. He also worked in the corporate law practices of Vinson & Elkins and Mayer, Brown, Rowe & Maw.
Melba Hughes and Ben Lawrence of the search firm’s in-house practice group in Atlanta and Charlotte, NC recruited Gail Sharps Myers as general counsel, chief compliance officer and secretary at American Tire Distributors in Charlotte. In her new role, Ms. Myers is responsible for implementing strategy, managing the legal team and outside counsel, and negotiation of business transactions.
“Gail brings a wealth of SEC, governance and strong public company experience, and possesses the operational and distribution background that will support ADT as the company continues its growth from a regional family-owned business to North America’s largest independent supplier of tires to the replacement tire market,” said Ms. Hughes.
General Counsel: A New Pathway to CEO
The general counsel role has been vital for companies maintaining an international presence. “The role and stature of the general counsel position has expanded globally,” said Paul Williams, a partner in MLA’s Chicago office.
Most recently, Ms. Myers served as SVP, general counsel and secretary for Snyder’s-Lance Inc. Prior to that, she was SVP, deputy general counsel, chief compliance counsel and assistant secretary at US Foods Inc. She began her career at Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer in New York, and was also an associate at Loeb & Loeb in New York, and Blackwell Igbanugo in Washington, D.C.
American Tire Distributors is one of the largest independent suppliers of tires to the replacement tire market. It operates more than 140 distribution centers, 25 of which are in Canada, serving about 70,000 customers across the U.S. and Canada.
Founded in 1982, Major, Lindsey & Africa is legal-focused search firm with more than 25 offices worldwide. It has a track record of general counsel, corporate counsel, partner, associate and law firm management placements. The firm also provides law firms and companies with highly specialized legal professionals on project, interim and temporary-to-permanent hire basis.
Mr. Sachs is a partner in the Chicago office of MLA. He specializes in placing attorneys at all levels – from junior counsel to general counsel – in corporate and university legal departments.
Ms. Fine is a managing director in MLA’s Chicago in-house practice group. She specializes in placing attorneys in corporate legal departments in a variety of industries. She handles in-house searches ranging from corporate counsel positions to general counsel roles in a variety of industries, including manufacturing, higher education, healthcare, consumer products, telecommunications, retail, technology, pharmaceuticals, professional services and financial services.
Ms. Hughes is a partner and is co-managing partner of the Atlanta office and leads the national consumer products team. Her consulting practice includes placements of strategic and organizational importance to corporate legal departments. She conducts senior leadership searches, including general counsel and other high potential legal and compliance positions.
Mr. Lawrence serves as managing director leading MLA’s in-house practice group in the firm’s Charlotte office. He is focused on general counsel, senior level attorney and compliance searches for a broad range of corporate clients across the South and Southeast.
Legal Recruiting On the Rise
Legal recruiting continues to be a hot area for search firms. Lawyers employed by government agencies in particular have been on the move as a result of changes in government administrations, according to Hunt Scanlon Media. Employment of lawyers is projected to grow 10 percent through 2022. 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 as global economies expand.
A general counsel, chief counsel or chief legal officer is the chief lawyer of a legal department, usually in a company or a governmental department. In a business, the person holding the position typically reports directly to the CEO. Their duties involve overseeing and identifying the legal issues in all departments and their interrelation, including engineering, design, marketing, sales, distribution, credit, finance, human resources, production, as well as corporate governance and business policy.
Search Firms Stepping Up
Executive search firms have been called in to find new general counsel for various organizations in recent months. Here is a look at a few from the Hunt Scanlon Media news archives:
The Calgary Airport Authority has tapped recruiting firm Pekarsky & Company to lead its search for a new general counsel. Founding partner Adam Pekarsky is heading the assignment. The general counsel will be responsible for the delivery of internal services and managing the delivery of external legal services to the organization.
Education-focused executive recruiter Academic Search has placed Sandhya Subramanian as general counsel of Dartmouth College. Vice president and senior consultant William Howard led the recruiting process, which included reviewing institutional needs, candidate recruitment, candidate assessment & selection, interviews and overall talent management guidance.
The McAulay Smith Firm recruited Meredith Lackey as senior vice president, corporate secretary and general counsel of Georgia Power. Search firm chairman Al McAulay led the assignment. Ms. Lackey came to Georgia Power from Colonial Pipeline Co., where she served as VP and general counsel since 2012.
Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media