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Microsoft’s CLO Brad Smith Brings in $8.6M

Oct. 5, 2016, 9:14 PM

It’s been about one year since Microsoft’s Brad Smith was promoted to president and chief legal officer, and a recent proxy report shows he’s being well compensated for the expanded role.

On Tuesday, Microsoft released a compensation table outlining its highest-paid executive officers. It showed Smith making $8.6 million in total compensation in 2016.

That’s a combination of $704,000 in salary plus a $1.9 million bonus, and the remainder primarily in stock awards. It’s also a 26 percent raise from $6.8 million he made in 2015.

Smith had served as the company’s secretary and general counsel since 2002, and executive vice president of legal and corporate affairs since 2011, according to Bloomberg. At the time of his promotion, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella sent out a company wide email, saying he wanted Smith to play a bigger, public role.

Since that time, Smith has been front and center in the press. In September, the MIT Technology Review ran along profile that cast him as a leading privacy crusader for his attempts to bring Fourth Amendment rights — which allow the police to obtain a warrant to tap your phone, for instance — up to speed with the changes in how data is accumulated and stored.

Per the MIT Technology Review:

Just this summer a federal appeals court ruled in Microsoft’s favor,rejecting the Department of Justice’s claimthat U.S. warrants served on the company could now be used to pull in data held in other countries. “We are in a new age of technology that requires a new understanding of our fundamental rights,” says Smith.

At Microsoft, Smith was the fourth most highly compensated of five executives listed on the summary compensation table, behind the CEO Nadella who made $17.6 million, COO Kevin Turner who made $12.9 million, and CFO Amy Hood who made $10.2 million.

In other General Counsel news...

• Newegg’s former chief legal officer Lee Cheng has accepted a position as chief operating officer and executive vice president of Nashville-based Gibson Brands.

An outspoken critic of patent trolls, Cheng made a name for himself by going to trial on patent infringement claims during his 11 years at the online retailer Newegg.

In his new role at Gibson, he’ll be based in Nashville.

According to the online site,, Cheng started on Sunday and was looking for a career change — Gibson doesn’t do much online direct-to-consumer sales.

It quoted Cheng: “I’ve known [Gibson’s] visionary CEO and chairman Henry Juszkiewicz for several years from my service on the board of the Consumer Technology Association. When I mentioned to him that I was thinking about exploring different career challenges, he said, ‘Why don’t you come [to Gibson]?’”

Cheng was not immediately available for comment.

A New GC at Lending Club

[caption id="attachment_31033" align="alignright” width="319"][Image “Lending Club Founder and CEO Renaud Laplanche (C) rings the opening bell at the New York Stock Exchange December 11, 2014 in New York. Lending Club started trading on the NYSE at a high $24.75 USD per share. AFP PHOTO/DON EMMERT (Photo credit should read DON EMMERT/AFP/Getty Images)” (src=]Lending Club at the New York Stock Exchange Photo by Don Emmert (AFP/Getty Images)[/caption]

• The online peer-to-peer loan company, Lending Club has named Russell Elmer as its general counsel, who returns to the company after more than two years away and when it is experiencing a tumultuous period.

This morning, Bloomberg reported that the Securities and Exchange Commission is investigating whether the company’s founder Renaud Laplanche withheld information from the board, including a possible conflict of interest, when it was considering a stock buyback. Laplanche was CEO and chairman at the time, but has since resigned.

Laplance, a lawyer by training who spent four years as an associate at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton, resigned from the company in May, after a board review found he had advised it to invest $10 million with an asset manager in which he had a stake, according to Bloomberg.

Elmer returns to Lending Club having served as deputy general counsel, then general counsel and chief compliance officer while at the company from 2012 to 2014. During his time away, he served as deputy general counsel at eBay and PayPal, according to his LinkedIn bio .

“Russ coming back puts the company in great hands for its next chapter, ” said outgoing general counsel Jason Altieri, who departs at the end of the month and has not yet announced his next move.

Altieri had joined the company as general counsel and chief compliance in 2009, when it was still private, and won recognition for keeping it out of court.

He told Big Law Business via email:

“The entire seven years, including the past few months were exciting, challenging, and professionally educational and we did some groundbreaking work on all fronts. It was a hard decision to leave but I felt now was a good time for me personally as I had another child leave for college and the right time for the company. As to the last few months, all I can say is that we accomplished a great deal that we are all very proud of, and during this time, I have seen how dedicated everyone in this company is in working to continue to make LC a great place.”

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