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Former OpenTable Legal Boss Joins Design Software Company Corel

April 28, 2021, 10:37 PM

Restaurant booking service OpenTable’s former general counsel Connie Chen has joined illustration and design software company Corel Corp. as chief legal officer.

Chen, who left OpenTable in 2018 after seven years, now oversees worldwide legal affairs and regulatory compliance matters for Ottawa, Canada-based Corel, according to a company statement Wednesday.

She began her career in private practice with Latham & Watkins, where she advised OpenTable on its IPO and M&A deals before joining the company, she told Bloomberg Law.

Two other former OpenTable leaders also sit on Corel’s executive team. Ex-COO Andrea Johnston joined the company in February as chief revenue officer after a decade with OpenTable, and Christa Quarles, who worked for OpenTable from 2015 to 2018 as CFO and later CEO, joined last fall as CEO and board member.

“Being the lawyer, you’re like the adviser for the CEO and the rest of the company, and already having that trust with the CEO is just so important,” Chen said, adding that she was excited to work with her former colleagues.

Corel’s suite of design and editing products includes brands like CorelDRAW, PaintShop, and MindManager, and in 2018 it acquired virtualization software Parallels. Corel currently has over 90 million users, according to the company’s website, as well as financial backing from global investment firm KKR & Co. Inc.

“Corel is at an inflection point and I am honored to be part of this transformation,” Chen wrote on LinkedIn of her move. “Over the past year, when everything changed seemingly overnight, Corel’s software gave businesses the tools to not only survive, but grow and thrive.”

The overnight change brought about by the coronavirus pandemic was less beneficial for Chen’s former employer.

OpenTable CEO Debby Soo said in an interview last Augustthat at least a quarter of restaurants in the U.S. may permanently close because of the pandemic, and OpenTable’s “state of the industry” data reports that in-person dining is still down 34% globally.

OpenTable’s parent company Booking Holdings Inc., which owns travel companies including Priceline.com and Kayak, also reported a 63% decrease in services booked through its businesses for 2020, according to the company’s annual report Feb. 24.

To contact the reporter on this story: Ruiqi Chen in Washington, D.C. at rchen@bloombergindustry.com

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

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