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Robinhood Hires Former SEC Commissioner Gallagher as Top Lawyer

May 5, 2020, 9:49 PM

Robinhood Markets Inc. has hired former SEC Commissioner Daniel Gallagher Jr. as its new chief legal officer, almost six months after recruiting another lawyer to fill its top in-house legal role.

Gallagher, who spent four years as a Republican appointed member of the SEC, has served as a member of the financial services company’s board of directors since October.

He has now joined Robinhood’s executive management team, replacing Anne Hoge, who will leave the chief legal officer role later this month “to attend to an illness in the family,” the Menlo Park, Calif.-based company said in a statement Tuesday announcing the leadership change.

Robinhood, a commission-free startup stock trading platform and app, has experienced a spike in trading activity and customers as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. The firm, which was valued at $8.3 billion this week after closing on a $280 million Series F financing round led by Sequoia Capital Ltd, could pursue an initial public offering later this year.

Gallagher left the SEC in 2015 and is currently a partner at WilmerHale in Washington, where he serves as deputy chair of the law firm’s securities department.

“I look forward to doing my part to help Robinhood reach even greater heights in serving its customers,” he said. “I will miss WilmerHale, but I know I will stay close to all of my friends there.”

Hoge joined Robinhood in November after spending almost six years as general counsel of Facebook Inc.’s WhatsApp messaging platform. Prior to that the former Wiley Rein associate had served in in-house roles at NetApp Inc. and Yahoo! Inc.

Robinhood said that it was “incredibly fortunate” to have Hoge and said she will work closely with Gallagher to ensure a smooth transition. The company plans to add a new independent board member to replace Gallagher as he moves to chief legal officer role.

Growing Legal Group

At Robinhood, Gallagher will oversee an in-house legal and compliance group that is still looking to grow after expanding over the past year.

The company, whose general counsel since 2016 has been former Kirkland & Ellis partner Archit Shah, promoted former associate general counsel Nili Moghaddam in January to global head of litigation, ethics, and compliance. In April 2019, Robinhood hired former TD Ameritade in-house lawyer John Castelly to serve as its chief compliance officer.

Other in-house additions by Robinhood include senior principal regulatory counsel Giti Baghban, senior litigation and investigations counsel Michelle Chen, litigation and investigations principal counsel Nicholas Lin, senior principal product counsel R. Euna Kim, senior regulatory counsel Kevin Jacobs, corporate counsel Ashley Juchawski Rich, and product counsel Bhavishya Ravi and David Ellis.

Gallagher had just rejoined WilmerHale in September 2019 after two years as chief legal officer for Dutch pharmaceutical giant Mylan NV. Bloomberg data shows Gallagher owns nearly $286,000 in Mylan stock.

A 2019 proxy statement filed by the company shows that it paid more than $1.43 million in total compensation to Gallagher last year, including a $623,923 base salary. Gallagher received another $5.28 million and $7.33 million in total compensation from Mylan in 2018 and 2017, respectively.

Mylan’s 2019 proxy states that WilmerHale received at least $850,000 from the company through April 15 of this year, with Gallagher having an “indirect interest in those fees” with his personal stake in them pegged to less than $7,500. Gallagher was not immediately available for comment about his new role, although in a statement issued by Robinhood said he will miss his private practice colleagues.

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

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Seth Stern at sstern@bloomberglaw.com

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