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Pinterest General Counsel and Google Alumna Set to Step Down

Feb. 17, 2022, 4:05 PM

Pinterest Inc., the social scrapbooking platform that has been a possible acquisition target, is losing its general counsel Oct. 1, the company disclosed in a securities filing.

Christine Flores will assist Pinterest in the “orderly transition” of her duties as the company initiates a search to find her replacement, the Wednesday filing said.

Pinterest hired her from Google to be its legal chief in 2017. She had joined Alphabet Inc.'s Google in 2007 and spent the next decade there, rising to the level of vice president of legal before being recruited by San Francisco-based Pinterest.

Flores is set to exit Pinterest roughly a year to the month that PayPal Holdings Inc. said it wasn’t interested in a potential $45 billion acquisition of the company. Microsoft Corp. also reportedly expressed takeover interest in Pinterest last year.

Flores has been a “valued member” of Pinterest’s executive ranks, said spokeswoman LeMia Jenkins Thompson, who cited her work taking the company public in 2019.

Pinterest’s initial public offering raised $1.4 billion and generated $2 million in legal fees for the company’s securities lawyers at Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton and Delaware’s Potter Anderson & Corroon.

“Christine will be involved in identifying the new general counsel and facilitating a seamless transition,” Thompson said.

Pinterest’s most recent proxy statement shows that Flores received almost $4.8 million in total compensation during fiscal 2020. More than $4.4 million of that sum was comprised of stock awards. Flores’ annual base salary was $345,000.

Securities filings show that within the past year Flores has sold off more than $17.8 million in Pinterest stock. She currently owns Pinterest shares valued at roughly $7.3 million, according to Bloomberg data.

Flores began her career as a corporate associate at Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, which advised underwriters on Pinterest’s IPO, and Proskauer Rose.

Her Google role saw Flores oversee 100 lawyers, as well as corporate governance, ethics and compliance, legal operations, mergers and acquisitions, real estate, and securities work.

At Pinterest, she oversaw changes to her legal team.

The company saw longtime deputy general counsel Anthony Falzone depart last year to become the top lawyer at Clubhouse, a privately held social media app. Pinterest also hired former Twitter litigation head Michele Lee for a position that put her in charge of the company’s litigation, regulatory, and employment teams.

Bloomberg News reported in October that PayPal approached Pinterest about a potential purchase at $70 per share. The aborted deal would have been PayPal’s largest-ever acquisition. Paypal’s longtime legal chief A. Louise Pentland stepped down at year’s end.

In November, Pinterest agreed to spend $50 million to promote diversity and inclusion initiatives at the company over the next 10 years as part of a settlement of lawsuits filed by investors.

Pinterest hired Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr to investigate its workplace culture in 2020 after two former female Black employees on its public policy team left the company amid accusations of racial bias and unfair pay.

Francoise Brougher, Pinterest’s former COO, sued the company later that year alleging that she was fired after pointing out gender discrimination in a male-dominated C-suite. Brougher, who claimed she was paid less than her male peers, secured a $20 million settlement from Pinterest in late 2020.

Pinterest admitted no wrongdoing in that deal but pledged to commit $2.5 million for programs improving representation in the technology industry.

A walkout by more than 350 Pinterest employees in the aftermath of Brougher’s lawsuit saw the company make changes to its board in an effort to diversify its corporate leadership.

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