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GameStop Veteran Lawyer Quits to Join Chicken Restaurant Chain

June 24, 2021, 9:35 AM

After more than a decade at GameStop Corp., Michael Burgoyne is on the move to a restaurant chain.

Burgoyne left his role as a vice president and assistant general counsel this month at the video game and consumer electronics retailer, whose fluctuating stock price and financial performance this year has roiled financial markets.

He has taken over as the new general counsel for Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers LLC, a privately held chain that specializes in fast-food poultry. He told Bloomberg Law via email that his position has not been replaced at GameStop.

Burgoyne is the second in-house lawyer in two months to leave GameStop, which on June 9 announced its hire of two former Amazon.com Inc. executives—Matthew Furlong and Mike Recupero—to be its CEO and CFO, respectively. Both hires hope to transition GameStop from a brick-and-mortar business to an e-commerce powerhouse, capitalizing on the company’s popularity with retail traders.

Paul Lanagan, who spent the past year as a senior counsel for employment and litigation matters at GameStop, left the company in May to become a senior employment counsel at Houston-based insurer Stewart Title Co. Lanagan didn’t respond to a request for comment about his departure.

Burgoyne confirmed via email that he started June 11 at Raising Cane’s, a Baton Rouge, La.-based company whose celebrity pitchmen include former basketball star Shaquille O’Neal and rappers Calvin “Snoop Dogg” Broadus Jr. and Cornell “Nelly” Haynes Jr. Raising Cane’s has shaken off a coronavirus pandemic-related sales slump with more drive-thru orders, according to Bloomberg News.

In a message posted this week to LinkedIn, Burgoyne said he was “thankful for the experiences and lasting friendships gained at GameStop,” where he spent nearly 11 years in the company’s legal group. Burgoyne added that he “couldn’t be more excited for this new chapter at Cane’s!”

In his new role, Burgoyne’s taken over from Camille Penniman, a former head of legal at Raising Cane’s who left the company over a year ago. Penniman, who in December became vice president of legal for truck parts manufacturer FleetPride Inc., didn’t respond to a request for comment about her exit.

GameStop Legal Changes

Dan Reed II, who has spent the past two years as general counsel and corporate secretary for GameStop, also didn’t respond to requests for comment about the departures of Burgoyne and Lanagan. Nor did a spokesman for GameStop, which is based in the Dallas suburb of Grapevine, Texas.

A proxy statement filed by GameStop in April shows that Reed wasn’t one of the top five highest-paid executives at the company during 2020. GameStop disclosed that it gave more than $4.3 million in total compensation to its former chief transformation officer, Daniel Kaufman, whose employment ended June 1, 2020.

Kaufman, who previously served as chief legal and administrative officer and corporate secretary for GameStop, took on his chief transformation duties in 2019 when the company embarked on a restructuring that cut 14% of its corporate staff. Sullivan & Cromwell and Pepper Hamilton, which merged last year with Troutman Sanders, advised GameStop on that strategic review of its operations.

Reed, a former U.S. general counsel for GameStop, which hired the former Jackson Walker lawyer as an associate general counsel in 2006, took over Kaufman’s top legal role when the latter was named chief transformation officer in mid-2019.

Kaufman, now a principal at Philadelphia-based Kingswood Consulting LLC, spent 18 years at GameStop, where he led the company’s legal, corporate governance, compliance functions, and other cross-functional initiatives, according to his LinkedIn profile. Kaufman had previously been the top lawyer at Electronics Boutique Holdings Corp., a video game retailer acquired by GameStop in 2005.

Mark Robinson, another GameStop lawyer who served in the company’s transition management office until he was named a vice president and assistant general counsel last year, recently took on the new title of chief ethics and compliance officer. Robinson, a former Jones Day partner, joined GameStop in 2015. He didn’t respond to a request for comment about his new position.

Ryan Cohen, an activist investor and billionaire entrepreneur who earned his fortune from Chewy Inc., an online pet products supplier he co-founded that went public in 2019, gained seats on GameStop’s board earlier this year. Cohen, who became GameStop’s new chairman in June, has been a primary driver of the company’s push to overhaul its operations for an e-commerce focus.

Labor and employment law-focused Ogletree, Deakins, Nash, Smoak & Stewart has handled 17% of GameStop’s federal litigation work within the past five years, according to Bloomberg Law data. California-based Haight Brown & Bonesteel; Morgan, Lewis & Bockius; and Fish & Richardson have collectively had a role on roughly 30% of GameStop’s federal litigation caseload during that time.

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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