Jack in the Box Inc., a San Diego-based fast food chain, has elevated in-house lawyer Sarah Super to its top legal and compliance positions.
Super was one of a trio of executives promoted Monday by Jack on the Box, as the company also installed a new chief product and innovation officer and chief brand and experience officer.
Super’s current new role at the company is senior vice president, general counsel, and chief risk officer. But she told Bloomberg Law in an email that chief legal officer will also be added to her list of titles next month following the departure of incumbent Phillip Rudolph.
Jack in the Box hired Super in late 2013 as a vice president and associate general counsel from Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, where she was a partner. Over the next half-dozen years, Super has overseen its litigation portfolio, risk management asset protection, and records management, according to a company statement.
A LinkedIn page for Super shows she inherited the general counsel role at Jack in the Box in November, more than a year after the company parted ways with former general counsel Raymond Pepper. An August 2018 securities filing by Jack in the Box reveals that Pepper left the company the following January with a $387,000 severance package.
Pepper, a former associate and partner at San Diego-based Miller, Boyko & Bell, which is now part of Troutman Sanders, became Jack in the Box’s general counsel in 2013. He initially joined the company’s legal department as a corporate counsel back in 1997. Jack in the Box was then coping with the fallout from an e. coli outbreak at 73 of its restaurants that sickened hundreds and killed four children in 1993.
New In-House Era
The legal troubles buffeting Jack in the Box have not abated in recent years, with the company battling employees and franchisees.
Pepper’s departure preceded that of Rudolph, who Jack in the Box announced late last year would leave as chief legal and risk officer—he has held both roles since 2014—with his various responsibilities being assumed by other executives.
A Sept. 27 securities filing from Jack in the Box stated that Rudolph would be eligible for a lump sum cash payment of $686,538 and an additional one-time cash payment of $50,000. A 2018 proxy statement filed by the company shows that Rudolph earned nearly $1.82 million in total compensation that year. He currently owns $6.8 million in Jack in the Box stock, according to Bloomberg data.
Rudolph, a former partner at Gibson Dunn & Crutcher and Foley Hoag who has served as the company’s in-house legal chief since 2007, told Bloomberg Law in an email that he plans to take some off to decompress before deciding on his next move.
In the interim, Rudolph said he plans to stay busy as the incoming chairman of the board for the Corporate Directors Forum in San Diego, while also serving on the board of a Los Angeles-based charity, the Alliance for Children’s Rights.
Law Firm Ties
With Rudolph and Pepper moving on, Super will soon be in sole control of Jack in the Box’s law department. The company continues to have close ties to the previous law firms of its current legal chief and its heir apparent.
Bloomberg data shows that Gordon Rees has handled more than 10% of Jack in the Box’s litigation caseload since 2007, a percentage that rises to more than 23% when examining the past five years. Other leading law firms representing the company during that time include Crowell & Moring and Dorsey & Whitney.
Jack in the Box turned to Gibson Dunn in early 2018 advise on the roughly $305 million sale of its Qdoba Restaurant Corp. unit to a consortium led by Apollo Global Management LLC. The New York-based buyout giant, which also owns the Chuck E. Cheese family entertainment and pizza chain, was advised on that deal by Morgan Lewis & Bockius and Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison.
Bloomberg News reported late last year that Apollo had hired advisers to explore a potential $550 million sale of Qdoba, a fast-casual dining chain serving Mexican-style cuisine.