Aptiv Auto Supplier Makes Former Aerospace Executive Legal Chief

March 22, 2021, 9:31 AM

Aptiv PLC, a Dublin-based company that makes automobile components, has hired Katherine Ramundo as chief legal officer, according to an internal memo obtained by Bloomberg Law.

Ramundo, who started March 15 and also holds the titles of chief compliance officer and corporate secretary, spent the past four years as legal head at aircraft parts maker Howmet Aerospace Inc.

“Kate will serve as a key member of the leadership team,” Aptiv CEO Kevin Clark said in the memo that noted she will lead all legal functions, “including commercial, governance, M&A, litigation, and intellectual property.”

Ramundo joins Aptiv a decade after its predecessor emerged from bankruptcy. She earned nearly $2.7 million in total compensation from Howmet in 2019, according to that company’s most recent proxy statement. Ramundo owns $5.1 million in Howmet stock and over $5.7 million in Aptiv stock, per Bloomberg data.

At Aptiv, Ramundo replaces David Sherbin, who will retire April 1 after more than 15 years as top lawyer for the transportation technology company, known until late 2017 as Delphi Automotive Systems PLC.

Sherbin joined Delphi in 2005, the same year the auto parts supplier went bankrupt as it struggled with labor battles and reduced business from its former parent, General Motors Co., which spun off Delphi in 1999.

Private investors bought Delphi out of bankruptcy, which it emerged from with Sherbin’s guidance, following the 2008 financial crisis. Delphi went public in late 2011, and in mid-2017 paid $450 million to buy self-driving startup NuTonomy Inc.

Aptiv was formed in late 2017 after splitting off from Delphi, which became Delphi Technologies PLC and was sold last year to BorgWarner Inc.

“I want to sincerely thank David for his commitment to Aptiv and contributions to the company’s transformation over the years to become the successful technology company we are today,” Aptiv’s Clark wrote in announcing Sherbin’s retirement.

Clark, who had been Delphi’s CEO, took over the top job at Aptiv and in 2019 forged a $4 billion autonomous vehicle joint venture with Hyundai Motor Co. Ltd.

Aptiv’s joint venture with Hyundai became a standalone entity last year called Motional AD Inc., which a year ago this month hired former Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom partner Peter Simshauser in Boston to be its legal chief. Motional received approval in November to test its vehicles in Nevada.

Merit Janow, a former Skadden associate and international trade and investment expert who is now dean of Columbia University’s School of International and Public Affairs, was nominated by Aptiv this month to serve on its board.

Changing Times

Ramundo’s former employer, Howmet, was formed in 2016 out of the metal-processing units that broke away from aluminum maker Alcoa Inc. The company was known as Arconic Inc. until a split was finalized last year.

Arconic had previously tapped Ramundo to succeed former Alcoa legal chief Audrey Strauss, the current top federal prosecutor in New York.

Ramundo and Arconic soon faced a crisis in the June 2017 Grenfell Tower fire in London that killed 72 people. Aluminum cladding that caught fire was manufactured by Arconic. The company successfully dismissed litigation that had been filed against it in the U.S., although Arconic and other defendants still face claims in the U.K.

The company’s name changed to Howmet last year when Ramundo helped separate its aluminum products business into a standalone entity that still carries the Arconic name. Howmet disclosed Ramundo’s resignation in February.

Ramundo also spent two years as general counsel for ANN Inc., parent of the Ann Taylor and LOFT brands, prior to joining Howmet in 2016. She spent more than 15 years in-house at Colgate-Palmolive Co., where Ramundo rose to the level of deputy general counsel.

Sherbin, her predecessor at Aptiv, was based out of the company’s U.S. headquarters in the Detroit suburb of Troy, Mich.

Aptiv disclosed in a proxy statement filed this month that it paid over $5 million in total compensation—including $4 million in stock awards—to Sherbin in 2020. Sherbin owns more than $12.3 million in Aptiv stock, according to Bloomberg data.

Sherbin leaves Aptiv the same month that his brother, Joshua Sherbin, announced he would step down March 5 as general counsel and compliance chief at Bloomfield, Mich.-based TriMas Corp., an aerospace and industrial manufacturer. TriMas promoted deputy general counsel Jodi Robin to replace him.

In an email, Sherbin said he and his younger brother both started their respective legal chief roles around the same time over 15 years ago, not far from one another. Sherbin said the timing of their tandem departures was coincidence.

Joshua Sherbin didn’t respond to a request for comment.

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
John Hughes in Washington at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com

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