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Comcast, Ticketmaster, TiVo Reshuffle Legal, Regulatory Ranks

June 4, 2020, 2:57 PM

Mitch Rose’s government relations role is growing at telecommunications conglomerate Comcast Corp.

The world’s second-largest broadcasting and cable television network announced June 3 its promotion of Rose to replace Kathryn Zachem as head of its federal, state, and local government affairs and regulatory team.

In a statement, Comcast chief legal officer Thomas Reid praised Rose for his “many years of experience and success” in government and political affairs. Reid, hired by Comcast last year, said he was impressed by Rose’s “advocacy and political skills, but also his sound judgment and dedication to the company.”

Rose, a graduate of American University’s Washington College of Law who once served as chief of staff to late U.S. Sen. Ted Stevens, previously spent almost a half-dozen years as vice president of government relations at The Walt Disney Co. and an equal amount of time at Comcast’s NBCUniversal LLC, where he served as senior vice president of federal government affairs for his last two years.

Zachem, a communications law expert and former partner at Washington’s Wilkinson Barker Knauer LLP, will retire June 30 after more than 13 years at Comcast, which promoted her in March 2017 to executive vice president of federal government affairs. Rose will now assume that role, while also heading Comcast’s Washington office. Zachem will remain an adviser to Comcast through year’s end.

Rose’s promotion comes after Comcast announced April 14 its hire of Candy Lawson as senior vice president, chief compliance officer, and senior deputy general counsel. Lawson, a former litigation associate at Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, spent the past seven years as deputy general counsel and group chief compliance officer at 21st Century Fox Inc., which was sold to Disney last year. Lawson now oversees Comcast’s global compliance efforts and works out of the company’s London and Philadelphia offices.

Lawon and Rose report to Reid, a former chairman and managing partner of Davis Polk, which has been a longtime legal adviser to the company. Davis Polk has handled nearly 4% of Comcast’s U.S. litigation work within the last five years, according to Bloomberg data.

Tough Times at Ticketmaster

Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc., currently coping with widespread cancellation of live events due to the coronavirus pandemic, has parted ways with general counsel Karen Ruzic Klein.

The Beverly Hills, Calif.-based company’s legal chief, hired in March 2019, wrote on her LinkedIn profile that May 29 was her last day. “While I’m not usually someone to sit on the sidelines, I’ll be in your cheering section as you bring back live events, and I know they’ll be better than ever,” Klein said in a post praising her former Ticketmaster colleagues.

Prior to joining the ticket sales and distribution giant, Klein spent five years as chief administrative officer and general counsel at HotelTonight, which she joined in 2013 after roughly a dozen years as legal chief for online booking platforms Kayak and Orbitz. Klein, who began her legal career in 1995 as an associate at Katten Muchin Rosenman LLP in Chicago, didn’t disclose details about her future plans.

Ticketmaster media representatives didn’t respond to a request for comment about whether the company will replace Klein. Nor did Michael Rowles, the longtime general counsel at Live Nation Entertainment Inc., Ticketmaster’s parent company since 2010.

Bloomberg Law reported in April that Rowles would take a 50% reduction in his $800,000 base salary as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak. Rowles earned over $2.05 million in total compensation—including $1.6 million in cash—last year from Live Nation.

TiVo’s Legal Chief Out

TiVo Corp. completed this week its $2.4 billion all-stock merger with Xperi Corp. The deal, announced in December, creates one of the world’s largest patent licensing enterprises under the Xperi name.

San Jose, Calif.-based TiVo disclosed in a June 1 securities filing the management team for the combined company. The group includes Xperi chief legal officer Paul Davis but not TiVo’s general counsel and chief compliance officer, Pamela Sergeeff.

Sergeeff resigned June 1 from TiVo, the digital recording pioneer said in securities filings, which note she is entitled to a $201,541 cash payment upon consummation of the merger. She didn’t respond to a request for comment. Nor did Davis, Xperi’s longtime legal chief.

TiVo saw Sergeeff become its general counsel in 2016 after its $1.1 billion sale to Rovi Corp., which adopted the TiVo name. Sergeeff spent a decade in-house at Rovi, serving as general counsel since December 2013. Cooley LLP and Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP, which represented Rovi and TiVo, respectively, on that deal, also took the lead for TiVo and Xperi on their latest transaction.

Sergeeff isn’t the only TiVo lawyer affected by Xperi’s acquisition. Arvin Patel, who handled TiVo’s long-running patent fight with Comcast after being hired in 2017 as chief intellectual property officer, is one of several top executives set to receive golden parachute payments as a result of the merger. TiVo securities filings show it earmarked nearly $1.8 million—including $450,000 in cash—for Patel.

TiVo also paid over $2.4 million in total compensation to Patel in 2019. Sergeeff, who was not one of the company’s top paid executives last year, received at least $375,000 from TiVo in a special cash incentive retention payment.

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Ferullo at mferullo@bloomberglaw.com, Seth Stern at sstern@bloomberglaw.com

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