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Apollo Makes Outside Counsel New Litigation, Regulation Head

Nov. 2, 2020, 10:31 AM

Apollo Global Management Inc. has recruited Brian Carney, a partner from one of its many outside law firms, to serve as general counsel for litigation and regulation.

Carney spent the past 15 years as a bankruptcy and commercial litigator at Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld, where he made partner in 2014. He joined New York-based Apollo in October.

Apollo has longstanding ties to Akin Gump, which has handled litigation, lobbying, and corporate work for the investment giant. Isabelle Gold, who took over last year as chief compliance officer for Apollo’s publicly traded investment arm, is a former Akin Gump litigator.

Apollo has come under fire in recent weeks for its co-founder, chairman, and CEO Leon Black’s links to convicted sex offender Jeffrey Epstein, the hedge fund manager who committed suicide in a Manhattan jail last year.

Black said in an Oct. 29 earnings call that it was a “terrible mistake” to give Epstein “a second chance” at doing business with the buyout billionaire after Epstein avoided prosecution on the most serious charges against him in Florida in 2008. Black has also apologized to Apollo investors and a conflicts committee of the company’s board has retained the law firm Dechert to investigate the matter.

Apollo took in $13 billion during the third quarter, despite the fallout from what Black has described as a purely business relationship with Epstein.

Black has continued doing what he does best—deals—with Akin Gump advising a group of lenders led by Apollo on their $700 million bankruptcy buy of WiFi provider Global Eagle Entertainment Inc. and an ad hoc bondholder group providing a $1 billion loan to bankrupt Grupo Aeromexico SAB.

During his time at Akin Gump, Carney was part of a team of lawyers from the firm who advised Apollo on its $2.5 billion acquisition in 2018 of LifePoint Health Inc.

LifePoint was one of several private equity-owned hospital chains this year that tapped into billions of dollars in government money due to the coronavirus pandemic. LifePoint itself received about $1.5 billion in federal economic aid.

Carney will report to global general counsel Christian Weideman, an Apollo spokeswoman said. Weideman assumed his current role a year ago after previously serving as general counsel for litigation and regulation.

Weideman in turn reports to Apollo’s chief legal officer John Suydam.

Apollo disclosed in an August proxy statement that Suydam received nearly $4.2 million in total compensation—including $2 million in cash—during fiscal 2019. Suydam currently owns more than $26.2 million in Apollo stock, per Bloomberg data.

Suydam joined Apollo in 2006 after serving as co-head of the corporate department at O’Melveny & Myers and chairman of O’Sullivan, a New York-based firm that merged with O’Melveny in 2002.

Earlier this year, Apollo hired O’Melveny bankruptcy and restructuring counsel Michael Lotito in New York as a transactional counsel for its credit operations, the company’s largest business segment by assets under management.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com