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KBR Hires Ex-Flir, Rosetta Stone Lawyer to Succeed Legal Chief

Oct. 25, 2021, 7:06 PM

Engineering and infrastructure company KBR Inc. announced Monday its hire of executive vice president and general counsel Sonia Galindo.

Galindo joins Houston-based KBR after spending the past half-dozen years as the top lawyer for Flir Systems Inc. and Rosetta Stone Ltd. She replaces longtime KBR legal chief Eileen Akerson, who the government contractor and facilities manager disclosed in a securities filing last week will retire Oct. 31.

KBR President and CEO Stuart Bradie said in a statement that Galindo’s “deep understanding of the law” will help the company achieve its long-term objectives.

“Her extensive knowledge of the global legal landscape, coupled with her strong leadership skills, will help guide KBR in accordance with our high ethical standard,” Bradie said.

Galindo most recently served as general counsel, chief ethics and compliance officer, and corporate secretary for Flir, which earlier this year was sold for $8.2 billion to Teledyne Technologies Inc. That deal saw Flir escape an $8 billion lawsuit filed by an investor over alleged violations of U.S. sanctions on Iran and Cuba.

Flir, a thermal imaging and camera sensor outfit, hired Galindo in 2019 from Rosetta Stone, where she spent almost five years as the top lawyer for the language software company. Galindo spent a decade at Keurig Green Mountain Inc., the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, and McCormick & Co. prior to joining Rosetta Stone in 2015.

Akerson has worked at KBR since 1999 when the company was known as Kellogg Brown & Root and a subsidiary of Houston-based oilfield giant Halliburton Co. KBR separated from Halliburton in 2007 and tapped Akerson for its top legal role in 2014.

Bradie wished Akerson the best in her future endeavors and praised her for her “exemplary service” to KBR and “unwavering support to me.”

The company, in an Oct. 20 securities filing, credited Akerson for leading KBR’s legal team as it transformed to a “high-end, differentiated services organization.” During her tenure as general counsel Akerson played a key role in “key contract negotiations and significant acquisitions,” while also “closing out key legacy legal matters over the past few years,” KBR said.

Bloomberg Law reported in March on a federal judge’s ruling in a 14-year-old lawsuit that KBR violated the False Claims Act through a logistics contract the company had with the U.S. Army during the Iraq War.

Arnold & Porter Kaye Scholer has been representing KBR in that litigation, while Hogan Lovells took the lead for the company this summer on its $400 million acquisition of the Frazer-Nash Consultancy Ltd. KBR closed that deal Oct. 21.

KBR’s most recent proxy statement shows that Akerson received nearly $1.9 million in total compensation in 2020. She currently owns nearly $3.6 million in KBR stock, per Bloomberg data. Akerson sold off $68,500 in KBR stock this past March, according to securities filings.

Flir was advised by Hogan Lovells on its recent sale to Teledyne, which turned to McGuireWoods for outside counsel on that transaction. Securities filings show that Galindo received more than $5 million in severance payments upon the completion of that deal. Galindo began her career as a staff attorney at the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission in Washington and associate at Blank Rome in Philadelphia.

KBR has paid $180,000 through the first three quarters of this year to the law firm Clark Hill for it to lobby on federal appropriations matters, according to records on file with the U.S. Senate. Covington & Burling was paid $40,000 after registering to advocate for KBR this month.

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

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