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Boeing Elevates New General Counsel, Compliance Chief

May 22, 2020, 1:35 PM

The Boeing Co. has a new general counsel and chief compliance officer as the Chicago-based aerospace giant consolidates those functions into one unit led by legal chief Brett Gerry.

Grant Dixton, a former Kirkland & Ellis associate who joined Boeing in 2006, was promoted this month from vice president and deputy general counsel of the company to senior vice president and general counsel. Dixton will still serve as Boeing’s corporate secretary.

Also getting a promotion is Uma Amulura, a former federal prosecutor and one-time associate and partner at Kirkland who joined Boeing as senior counsel in 2017. She is now vice president and chief compliance officer at Boeing, having most recently served as an assistant general counsel at the company.

The company confirmed the new roles for both in-house lawyers, both of whom report to Gerry. Boeing, announced last month plans to streamline its senior leadership as the company adapts to adverse economic conditions stemming from the U.S. coronavirus outbreak and ongoing issues with its troubled 737 MAX aircraft.

Amid the restructuring, Gerry was promoted May 1 to chief legal officer and executive vice president for global compliance. Gerry moved into Boeing’s general counsel role—now held by Dixton—in May 2019 after predecessor J. Michael Luttig transitioned into a senior advisory role. Luttig retired Dec. 31 from Boeing, which hired the former federal appellate judge in 2006.

A 2019 proxy statement filed by Boeing shows that Luttig received $7.3 million in total compensation during his final year at the company, including $984,385 in cash. Luttig owns more than $3 million in Boeing stock, according to Bloomberg data, which values Gerry’s stock holdings at $1.57 million. Gerry served as president of Boeing Japan prior to becoming Boeing’s general counsel last year.

Diana Sands, who served as Boeing’s previous compliance chief, will retire later this year after heading the company’s office of internal governance and administration. Bloomberg data shows that Sands, who is not a lawyer, owns roughly $2.86 million in Boeing stock.

Takeoffs and Landings

Boeing isn’t the only leading U.S. aviation company to reshuffle its executive ranks during a turbulent time for mass transportation.

United Airlines Holdings Inc. announced May 11 its promotion of executive vice president and chief administrative officer Brett Hart to president of the Chicago-based airline as it copes with the fallout from the Covid-19 pandemic. As United’s new No. 2 executive and its first African-American president, Hart will be tasked with helping navigate the company through an economic downturn.

A 2019 proxy statement filed by United shows that Hart received $4.02 million in total compensation last year, including $1.81 million in cash. The sum was a raise over the nearly $3.4 million that Hart earned from the company in 2018. Bloomberg data shows that Hart owns $1.7 million in United stock.

Hart, a former general counsel at Sara Lee Corp., joined United as its legal chief in 2010. In 2015, he briefly served as United’s acting CEO. United hired Robert Rivkin as its new general counsel last year. Rivkin reports to Hart.

Other in-house aviation appointments include:

  • Vx Capital Partners LLC said May 19 it promoted corporate counsel Bashir Agah to general counsel. Agah, who will oversee legal affairs for the San Francisco-based commercial aircraft leasing and trading company, joined Vx in 2013 after in-house stints at ORIX Aviation Systems Ltd. and Mesa Air Group Inc. Agah began his career in 2003 as an attorney for what is now Norton Rose Fulbright.
  • Delta Air Lines Inc. hired Covington & Burling corporate and securities partner Stephanie Bignon this month as an assistant general counsel in its Atlanta headquarters. Bignon made partner last October in Covington’s Washington office, where she was part of what the law firm called the most diverse partnership class in its history. Bignon joined Covington as a summer associate in 2010. Before going to law school, Bignon worked as a public company auditor and senior external reporting analyst at Delta.
  • Spaceflight Inc., a Seattle-based ride share and space mission management company, announced April 6 its hire of former Boeing in-house lawyer Dennis Wiessner Jr. as vice president and general counsel. Wiessner spent the past three years as general counsel for a Philadelphia-based helicopter affiliate of Italian aerospace company Leonardo SpA.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Seth Stern at sstern@bloomberglaw.com

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