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Huntington Ingalls Taps Compliance Chief as New Legal Captain

March 10, 2020, 10:01 PM

Huntington Ingalls Industries Inc., the largest shipbuilder for the U.S. military, has appointed a new top lawyer.

The Newport News, Va.-based company, known as HII, said Tuesday that current vice president of litigation and chief compliance officer Chad Boudreaux will become its new chief legal officer April 1 following the departure of Kellye Walker.

Boudreaux’s promotion caps a nearly decade-long career at HII, which he joined at the time of its separation from Northrop Grumman Corp. in 2011. Boudreaux, who prior to coming aboard at HII spent time as a special counsel at Baker Botts in Washington, was named the company’s first compliance chief in 2013.

Walker, a former general counsel at BJ’s Wholesale Club Inc., Diageo North America Inc., and American Water Works Co. Inc., joined HII as its in-house legal chief in January 2015. Walker replaced the company’s retiring former general counsel Bruce Hawthorne.

Walker is now poised to leave HII at month’s end to take an executive vice president and chief legal officer role at Eastman Chemical Co.

The Kingsport, Tenn.-based manufacturer, a former subsidiary of Eastman Kodak Co., said in its own statement Tuesday that Walker will come aboard April 13 to replace interim chief legal officer Clark Jordan. Eastman Chemical named Jordan as its temporary law department leader last summer following the retirement of former in-house legal chief David Golden.

Jordan will remain with Eastman Chemical as a member of its senior management, according to a company statement announcing Walker’s hire.

Diversity Champion

Walker was not immediately available to discuss her new role at Eastman Chemical, which like HII is part of the Fortune 500. That distinction is important since Walker, who has been an advocate for diversity and inclusion in the legal profession, is also part of the Black General Counsel 2025 Initiative.

The group wants to have 50 law department leaders of color in place within Fortune 1000 companies by year’s end and 100 by 2025. A tally on Black GC 2025’s website shows there are currently 49 top African American lawyers within the Fortune 1000.

The number has remained mostly steady, as the resignation in January of former Alphabet Inc. chief legal officer David Drummond was offset by Consolidated Edison Inc.’s hire of Deneen Donnley to replace the retiring Elizabeth Moore as general counsel and Adtalem Global Education Inc.’s promotion last month of former Jones Day partner Chaka Patterson to succeed Stephen Beard as general counsel.

Beard, a former general counsel at executive search firm Heidrick & Struggles International Inc., is now COO and head of a financial services vertical at Adtalem, a workforce solutions company. The list of minority in-house leaders on Black GC 2025’s website does still include Keith Williamson, a former general counsel and corporate secretary at health care giant Centene Corp.

Centene announced Feb. 3 that Williamson would transition to the role of president of the Centene Charitable Trust as the St. Louis-based company named former Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster as its new in-house legal chief. Centene, which closed earlier this year on its $17 billion acquisition of WellCare Health Plans Inc., hired Koster as senior vice president of corporate services in 2017.

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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