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Neiman Marcus, Chico’s Hire New Lawyers Amid Rebound (Correct)

July 8, 2021, 10:34 PMUpdated: July 12, 2021, 2:50 PM

Neiman Marcus Group LLC and Chico’s FAS Inc. have appointed new law department leaders as the U.S. retail market slowly rebounds from the coronavirus pandemic.

Hannah Kim, chief legal officer and corporate secretary at battery maker Energizer Holdings Inc., was announced Thursday as luxury retailer Neiman’s chief legal and compliance officer. Chico’s, a women’s clothing and accessories retailer, has tapped Troutman Pepper Hamilton Sanders partner C. Chad Warpula to temporarily be its top lawyer.

While retail sales began returning to pre-pandemic levels earlier this year, Bloomberg News reported in June that growing pains in the sector persist as Americans shift more of their spending to travel and entertainment.

Creditors took control of Neiman last year after the company emerged from bankruptcy proceedings in September. Chico’s liquidated its Canadian stores in bankruptcy last year.

Kim steps into an in-house role at Neiman vacated by Tracy Preston, who in March became the new top lawyer at HanesBrands Inc. She didn’t respond to a request for comment about her move, but said in a statement that she’s excited to join the Dallas-based company “at this pivotal time of ongoing growth and transformation.”

Chico’s tapped Warpula to serve as its legal chief after Deidre Richardson resigned from the role. Richardson was announced July 6 as the new general counsel for Terminix Global Holdings Inc., a pest control services provider.

Kristen McClement, a spokeswoman for Fort Myers, Fla.-based Chico’s, told Bloomberg Law that Warpula is currently serving as the company’s interim legal chief as “we continue our search for the best candidate” to replace Richardson. Warpula didn’t respond to a request for comment about his role at Chico’s.

Warpula was previously an equity partner at Troutman Pepper, a law firm formed in a merger last year. He most recently spent nearly almost a year as interim general counsel and compliance chief for American Tire Distributors Holdings Inc. The company, a top U.S. tire retailer, in December hired Carol Genis as its legal chief.

Warpula has juggled those interim legal gigs while spending the past decade in private practice. In 2015, he joined the Charlotte office of predecessor firm Troutman Sanders from K&L Gates. He was general counsel for the racing team started by former race car driver Dale Earnhardt prior to being hired at K&L Gates in 2010.

Chico’s elevated Richardson, a former corporate counsel at the company, to its top legal and corporate secretary position in December after former general counsel Gregory Baker left that month for Pittsburgh-based supermarket chain Giant Eagle Inc.

Retail Changes

Neiman, which refinanced its bankruptcy debt this year, saw Preston spend more than eight years as its legal chief. The former top lawyer at Levi Strauss & Co. came aboard in 2012, taking over from Neiman’s first-ever general counsel, Nelson “Tony” Bangs, who created the company’s in-house legal group in 2001.

Neiman spokesman John Walls said assistant general counsel Tasha Grinnell handled the company’s legal chief responsibilities on an interim basis after Preston left in March. Grinnell was hired at the start of the pandemic, having previously been lead labor and employment counsel for software company McAfee Inc. Neiman added to its in-house ranks in May by bringing on senior counsel G. Edelberto Cuadra, a former partner at now-defunct LeClairRyan in Houston.

Energizer didn’t respond to a request for comment about who will lead its legal group upon Kim’s exit later this month. The St. Louis-based company announced June 2 that it would raise prices for the various batteries it sells in an effort to offset higher costs for commodities, freight, and labor.

Kim was promoted to the top legal job at Energizer in late 2019 to succeed retiring general counsel Kelly Boss. At the time, Energizer tapped a prior former in-house legal chief, Mark LaVigne, to be both president and COO of the company. In January, LaVigne took over as Energizer’s CEO.

Energizer’s most recent proxy statement shows that LaVigne received nearly $3.1 million in total compensation last year, while Kim’s pay package was valued at almost $1.2 million. She currently owns more than $59,000 in Energizer stock, according to Bloomberg data. Kim’s compensation at privately held Neiman was unavailable.

As for Terminix, it disclosed in a July 6 securities filing that Richardson will succeed interim general counsel D. Dion Persson, who will remain with the Memphis-based company in a strategic advisory role that will pay him $250,000 per year. Persson had previously handled business development and strategy at Terminix, which was known as ServiceMaster Global Holdings Inc. until the latter sold off a portfolio of brands last year to private equity firm Roark Capital Management LLC.

Legacy ServiceMaster, advised by Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen & Katz, subsequently rebranded itself as Terminix. The company disclosed in a Jan. 22 securities filing that general counsel Michael Bisignano would resign and be replaced on an interim basis by Persson. Bisignano exited Terminix with $454,000 in base salary, a $273,000 bonus, and a lump sum $10,000 payment to defer health insurance costs. Bloomberg data show he currently owns nearly $176,000 in Terminix stock.

Persson received more than $1.8 million in total compensation from Terminix last year, according to the company’s most recent proxy statement. Bloomberg data show that he still owns $895,000 in Terminix stock.

(Neiman spokesman John Walls incorrectly stated in a previous version of this story that Tasha Grinnell shared interim legal chief duties with Thomas Mattei Jr. )

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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