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Party City Gets New Top Lawyer Amid Holiday Season Finance Woes

Dec. 6, 2022, 9:56 PM

Party City Holdco Inc. has appointed a new top lawyer as the company renews discussions with creditors over its liquidity needs.

Ian Heller, who has spent more than 13 years at the party goods retailer, has been elevated from deputy general counsel to general counsel. His new role comes after Party City posted another lackluster quarterly earnings report last month as the company copes with supply chain issues.

Party City has retained the law firm Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison and financial advisory outfit Moelis & Co. for talks with creditors as it seeks to avoid a debt default, Bloomberg News reported Dec. 1.

Heller, who didn’t respond to a comment request, announced his promotion in a statement posted last week to his LinkedIn profile.

“Looking forward to embed Party City’s core promise—helping to make joy easy—into the foundation of the legal function,” he said.

Party City’s promotion of Heller comes less than a month after it parted ways with its chief legal officer and corporate secretary, Reginald Rasch. The company’s former top lawyer stepped down as of Nov. 18 after the Elmsford, NY-based company tapped two other executives for new roles, according to a securities filing.

Rasch and Party City, neither of whom responded to comment requests, entered into a separation agreement giving him 12 months base salary, his fiscal 2022 incentive plan compensation, accelerated stock vesting, and a year of benefits coverage.

The company disclosed in its most recent annual proxy statement filed in April that Rasch received nearly $947,500 in total compensation during fiscal 2021.

Party City gave a $200,000 sign-on bonus to Rasch and agreed to pay him $450,000 in annual base salary after he joined the company in May 2021, per its proxy.

Prior to Party City, Rasch spent more than two decades at Rakuten Group Inc., a Japanese e-commerce giant where he was Americas head of legal.

Rasch succeeded longtime Party City general counsel Joseph Zepf, who confirmed via email that he retired after 23 years with the company on June 30, 2020. Party City the same year tapped former Paul Weiss corporate associate Sarah Dodds-Brown, now a deputy general counsel at American Express Co., to join its board.

Dodds-Brown earned $386,000 in total compensation from Party City in 2021.

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

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com; John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com