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Nike’s Converse Brand Names Top Lawyer in Legal Group Reshuffle

Sept. 26, 2022, 6:02 PM

Nike Inc. appointed in-house lawyer Roberta Carvalho as general counsel for its Converse sneaker and apparel brand as the parent company seeks to increase the number of women in its top ranks.

Carvalho took on the role Sept. 4 after a decade at Nike, where she held “increasingly senior positions across the organization,” a company spokeswoman said. She will relocate from Nike’s headquarters in Beaverton, Ore., to Boston for the new job, the Converse spokeswoman said.

Nike in 2003 paid $305 million to acquire Converse, a Boston-based company know for its Chuck Taylor casual shoe brand. Converse earlier this year settled a patent dispute with Steve Madden Ltd. over sneaker design.

Nike said last year in response to a shareholder proposal it aims to have women comprise 45% of leadership positions. In July, the company said it would release data on the recruitment and promotion rates of under-represented groups by the end of 2024.

Carvalho didn’t respond to a request for comment.

She most recently was vice president of legal for global marketplace at Nike. Carvalho replaces Javier Zamora, who has taken a job legal chief for CarGurus Inc., a Cambridge, Mass.-based automotive research and shopping website.

Carvalho first joined Nike in 2013 as legal director for Brazil, where she helped negotiate sponsorships throughout Latin America, including for Team Brazil at the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro, according to an online biography.

Zamora took over the legal chief role at Converse last year from Rodney Pratt, who spent a decade in-house at Nike, most recently as vice president of the company’s office of general counsel operations, innovation, and strategic initiatives.

Pratt left Nike in July to become legal chief for LVMH Inc., the North American unit of French billionaire Bernard Arnault’s luxury goods conglomerate LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE.

Nike’s Legal Moves

Nike has been boosting its legal ranks in recent months. The company most recently recruited Crowell & Moring counsel Frances Hadfield as an assistant general counsel for customs and international trade and welcomed aboard Withers litigation associate Donovan Bonner as an associate general counsel for brand marketing.

Ann Miller, a former general counsel at Converse who most recently served as Nike’s chief compliance officer and corporate secretary, replaced Hilary Krane, a general counsel and chief administrative officer for Nike, who retired from Nike in February.

The Creative Artists Agency named Krane chief legal officer in March. A Nike spokeswoman confirmed that Miller, Krane’s successor in its top legal role, was elevated again in June from general counsel to chief legal officer.

Miller, Nike’s new top lawyer, didn’t respond to a request for comment. Nike’s most recent proxy statement didn’t list her or her predecessor, Krane, as among its five highest-paid executives during fiscal 2022. Miller currently owns roughly $3.3 million in Nike stock, according to Bloomberg data.

Dutch Bros. Inc., a Grants Pass, Ore.-based coffee maker that went public last year and last week hired a new legal chief in Victoria Tullett, announced in August that Miller has joined its board as a member of its audit and risk committee.

Nike promoted longtime chief litigation counsel Robert Leinwand in April to deputy general counsel for litigation, investigations, employment, and resilience.

That same month the company elevated Paul Saraceni, head of intellectual property transactions and patents, to global IP counsel. The role makes Saraceni head of IP transactions, patents, and trademarks at Nike, according to Intellectual Asset Management, an IP industry trade publication.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com