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Rite Aid, Lumber Liquidators Shopping for New Top Lawyers

June 1, 2020, 3:49 PM

Rite Aid Corp. and Lumber Liquidators Holdings Inc. are in the market for a pair of new law department leaders.

In a recent proxy statement, Rite Aid disclosed it paid almost $1.31 million in total compensation last year to executive vice president, general counsel, and company secretary James Comitale, who resigned from the national drugstore and pharmacy chain May 21.

A Rite Aid spokesman told Bloomberg Law that the company doesn’t comment on personnel matters. Comitale didn’t return a request for comment about his departure, which comes about a month after legal recruiting firm Major, Lindsey & Africa announced it had been retained to lead a search for a new in-house legal chief at the Camp Hill, Pa.-based company, which has a new CEO in Heyward Donigan.

Rite Aid’s 2019 proxy shows that Comitale took home $754,554 in cash in 2019, along with $212,667 in stock awards. He currently owns $565,000 in Rite Aid stock, according to Bloomberg data.

Lumber Liquidators said in a May 28 securities filing that senior vice president, chief legal officer, and corporate secretary M. Lee Reeves had resigned the day prior to “pursue other opportunities.” Reeves, in a brief email to Bloomberg Law, said there were “a number of factors” that led him to transition out of Lumber Liquidators, but a “known new opportunity was not” one of them.

Reeves’ departure from Lumber Liquidators came the same day the hardwood flooring retailer announced its appointment of a new president and CEO in Charles Tyson, who had moved into the role on an interim basis in February following the abrupt resignation of former CEO Dennis Knowles. Reeves was hired by Knowles in June 2017.

A Lumber Liquidators spokesman told Bloomberg Law that the Richmond, Va.-based company intends to “conduct a search to backfill the role” held by Reeves, who before joining Lumber Liquidators worked as a partner at the law firm Nexsen Pruet and served as a deputy general counsel at Mooresville, N.C.-based home improvement giant Lowe’s Cos. Inc.

Bloomberg data shows that Reeves owns $379,000 in Lumber Liquidators stock. Reeves earned $815,687 in total compensation last year, including $516,948 in cash and $266,990 in stock awards, according to the company’s most recent proxy statement.

Denny’s Shift Change

Denny’s Corp. Monday announced its appointment of a new general counsel in Gail Sharps Myers, who has joined the Spartanburg, S.C.-based casual dining chain after more than two years as in-house legal and compliance chief at American Tire Distributors Inc.

Myers, who prior to joining American Tire spent three years as general counsel for snack food giant Snyder’s-Lance Inc., will report to Denny’s CEO John Miller and head the company’s legal function.

She succeeds longtime general counsel Timothy Flemming, whose LinkedIn profile shows that he retired in January. Flemming currently owns $1.14 million in Denny’s stock, according to Bloomberg data.

Children’s Place Switch

The Children’s Place Inc., a Secaucus, N.J.-based specialty retailer that owns children’s apparel brands like Baby Place and Gymboree, is returning a familiar face to its top legal position.

The company said in a May 22 securities filing that former general counsel Bradley Cost, who served in the role from December 2010 until his retirement in October 2019, had returned that day to replace Robert Karpf, a former deputy general counsel who succeeded Cost as legal chief in November.

Karpf earned more than $1.36 million in total compensation—$477,013 of that sum in cash—from the Children’s Place in 2019, according to a proxy statement. Karpf and Cost didn’t respond to requests for comment about their switch in positions, nor did the Children’s Place.

Cost received over $1.01 million in total compensation from the Children’s Place in 2018. He currently owns roughly $761,000 in Children’s Place stock, according to Bloomberg data, which values Karpf’s stock holdings in the company at almost $197,000. Karpf joined the in-house team at the Children’s Place in 2017 after seven years as deputy general counsel at Kate Spade & Co.

More Retail Recruits

Other notable in-house legal retail appointments include:

  • Jeremy Holbrook was announced May 20 as the new general counsel at Lawrenceville, N.J.-based 1WorldSync Inc. The supply chain software company, which was sold last year to technology-focused private equity firm Battery Ventures LP, provides services to retailers. Holbrook spent the past dozen years in-house at Sears Holdings Corp., where he recently served as deputy general counsel.
  • Boston Market Corp. said May 18 it promoted chief administrative officer and general counsel J. Randal Miller to president of the Golden, Colo.-based fast casual restaurant chain. Boston Market was sold in April to the privately held Rohan Group of Cos. Valentino DiGiorgio, general counsel of Newtown, Pa.-based Rohan, confirmed to Bloomberg Law in an email that due to Miller’s promotion, he is now corporate counsel and chief administrative officer at Boston Market.
  • Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, a privately held supermarket giant, announced May 13 its hire of legal operations veteran Jennifer Warner as chief administrative officer. Warner, a former compliance chief and general counsel for the Americas at supply chain solutions specialist XPO Logistics Inc., most recently served as vice president of legal at Columbia Sportswear Co., an outdoor apparel and sportswear maker that has been hit hard by coronavirus-related business closures. West Sacramento, Calif.-based Raley’s owns the Raley’s, Nob Hill Foods, Food Source, and Bel Air Markets brands.

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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