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Wake Up Call: Uber Hires Pepsi’s Tony West as Top Lawyer

Oct. 30, 2017, 11:53 AM

• Uber Technologies Inc. announced the hire of Tony West as its new chief legal officer on Friday. West, a former senior attorney in the Justice Department, partner at Morrison & Foerster, and Democratic fund raiser, emphasized diversity on his team while he was general counsel at PepsiCo. He replaces Salle Yoo, Uber’s top lawyer since 2012, as the company faces at least five federal criminal probes and dozens of lawsuits, including a major trade secrets fight with Alphabet Inc. over technology for self-driving cars, as well as foreign actions. Pepsi for 10 straight years has been named one of the world’s most ethical companies, a list CEO Dara Khosrowshahi said Uber can join, under West’s leadership. ( Bloomberg via BLB ) ( BLB ) ( Washington Post )

• PepsiCo said it promoted former Fried Frank associate Dave Yawman to replace West as executive vice president, government affairs, general counsel and corporate secretary, effective immediately. Yawman was previously Pepsi’s senior vice president and deputy GC, and GC for North America and corporate. Before that, he was SVP, chief compliance and ethics officer. ( PR Newswire )

• A Manhattan judge Friday sentenced Francis Canellas, Dewey & LeBoeuf’s former finance director, to 250 hours of community service for his plea agreement on first-degree fraud charges. After the sentencing of Canellas, the prosecution’s star witness, it’s all but certain that no one will go to jail in the years-long criminal case over Dewey’s 2012 collapse. ( New York Law Journal )

• Barclays Plc and the U.S. Justice Department, engaged in a legal battle over the suspected fraudulent sale of mortgage securities a decade ago, are said to have revived discussions about reaching an out-of-court settlement. ( Bloomberg )

• Across the political spectrum, there is growing support for reining in, or even breaking up, the big online companies that dominate the U.S. economy. But are big technology companies and too powerful for regulators to break up? ( Financial Times )

Law Firm Business

• Shearman & Sterling hired Andrew “Buddy” Donohue, former Securities and Exchange Commission chief of staff to ex-SEC chair Mary Jo White, as of counsel for its investment funds practice in New York. ( American Lawyer )

• The 44-lawyer insurance firm White Fleischner & Fino, which has offices in New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Florida, is said to plan to split into two firms on Jan. 31. ( )

• After a Jones Day attorney for Chevron Corp. uncovered that two lawyers in a class action against the company were getting financing from U.K.-based Therium Capital Management, the suit collapsed. The case provided a rare look at how the litigation funding industry structures deals in risky cases, and fueled a broader debate about transparency and litigation finance. ( American Lawyer )

• Investigators may never be able to determine what ignited the wine country fires, but under California law PG&E, one of the nation’s largest utilities, can be held responsible for damages -- even if it did everything by the book. ( Bloomberg )

Legal Market

• In the not too distant past, becoming a general counsel would not have been a likely career path for a person who wanted the power and access to influence and advance social justice causes. But an “in-house revolution” at major companies has changed that, a panel of prominent general counsel said last week at Harvard Law School’s bicentennial event. ( National Law Journal )

• The FCC’s ambitious plan to kill a raft of limits on media companies’ ownership is likely to wind up in court. ( Bloomberg BNA )

• Former Fox News star Bill O’Reilly sued former New Jersey politician Michael J. Panter for at least $5 million after Panter claimed in a Facebook post that O’Reilly sexually harassed his then-girlfriend and wanted her to help dig up dirt on another accuser. ( Bloomberg )

• Deutsche Bank AG was sued by Colin Fan, the former co-head of its investment banking unit, for at least 10 million pounds ($13 million) over unvested share awards the lender said were canceled after a probe into personal trades that breached conflict-of-interest rules. ( Bloomberg )

Regulators and Enforcement

• The U.S. government is said to be close to resolving air pollution allegations against Exxon Mobil Corp. and may announce an agreement in coming days. ( Bloomberg )

Russia Probe

• A U.S. grand jury has approved the first charges stemming from special counsel Robert Mueller’s probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election and possible collusion with Donald Trump’s campaign, according to multiple news reports. ( Bloomberg )

• With the charges apparently imminent, President Donald Trump unleashed a flurry of messages attacking Hillary Clinton and Democrats. ( Bloomberg )

Happening in SCOTUS and Other Courts

• The U.S. Supreme Court is delaying arguments in a dispute over Ohio’s system for dropping people from voter-registration rolls because one of the lawyers in the case is on medical leave. ( Bloomberg )

• A California federal appeals court lifted a lower court’s gag order in a trademark fight between two rival conventions of comics fans, finding the case to be a “banal” and “run of the mill” civil proceeding. ( )


• With the European Union’s comprehensive data privacy regulation set to take effect next year, big companies in the U.S. and U.K. are increasingly putting aside cash for compliance technology products and hiring outside legal counsel to help them deal with it, according to a report from international law firm Paul Hastings LLP. ( Bloomberg BNA )

• Facebook Inc., Twitter Inc. and Google agreed to send representatives to a third congressional hearing into revelations that Russians exploited their networks during last year’s elections. ( Bloomberg )

• Facebook Inc. said it will start disclosing more about political ads, bringing the social network’s rules closer to what’s required of traditional mediums like television. ( Bloomberg )

Compiled by Rick Mitchell and edited by Casey Sullivan.