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Twilio Taps Impossible Foods’ Top Lawyer to Lead Law Department

Nov. 10, 2021, 5:26 PM

Twilio Inc., a cloud communications platform, said Wednesday it hired Impossible Foods Inc.’s top lawyer, Dana Wagner, as chief legal officer.

He will assume the new role Dec. 13, joining a company that saw its business boom during the coronavirus pandemic. He succeeds general counsel Karyn Smith, whose departure was announced earlier this year.

“I have been fortunate to work for a series of companies using technology in innovative ways and for good causes, and Twilio will be no exception,” Wagner said in a statement. “I’m excited to carry on this work at a global scale—across industries, enterprises and continents.”

Wagner was chief legal officer and corporate secretary for Impossible, the plant-based meat producer that hired him in early 2018. Impossible is reportedly considering a potential initial public offering in the next few months.

“After more than three years with the company, Dana Wagner has left,” said Impossible spokeswoman Esther Cohn. “We’d like to thank Dana for his contributions to Impossible and wish him well.”

Twilio, which in August began trading on the Long-Term Stock Exchange, disclosed in a Feb. 16 securities filing that Smith intended to step down after six-and-a-half years at the San Francisco-based company after her successor was chosen.

The company’s most recent annual proxy statement shows that Smith received more than $3.2 million in total compensation from Twilio in 2020, down slightly from the more than $3.3 million she earned in 2019.

Smith currently owns more than $9 million in Twilio stock, according to Bloomberg data. Securities filings show that Smith has also sold off more than $7.7 million in company stock so far this year.

Twilio hired Smith, a former Cooley partner and deputy general counsel at Zynga Inc., to be its first general counsel in 2014. In a statement, the company thanked Smith for her contributions over the years.

“Karyn has been a tremendous leader for Twilio and such an important part of our success, from building out our legal team to taking us public and more,” the company said.

Impossible, which Bloomberg News recently reported is in fundraising talks at a $7 billion valuation, said that deputy general counsel Jason Gao will take over from Wagner as acting chief legal officer. The company promoted Gao, a former associate general counsel, to deputy legal chief over the summer.

Gao joined Impossible in 2018 from Square Inc., a financial technology company that hired Wagner to be its first general counsel in 2011. Wagner, who had previously spent four years as an in-house antitrust counsel at Alphabet Inc.’s Google, subsequently helped Square build out its legal team.

In 2016, Wagner left Square, having taken the mobile payments company public the year before. After taking some time off, in 2018 he joined Redwood City, Calif.-based Impossible, whose competitors in the faux meat space include Beyond Meat Inc.

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;
John Hughes in Washington at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com