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TechnipFMC Taps Oilfield Services Veteran Lazar as Legal Chief

Nov. 23, 2020, 10:58 PM

TechnipFMC Plc, an oilfield services provider, has hired a general counsel and corporate secretary in Victoria Lazar, who has spent more than a decade in-house in the oil and gas industry.

Lazar’s first day at TechnipFMC was Monday, according to a statement by the company, which was formed in 2017 following the completion of a cross-border merger between Technip SA and FMC Technologies Inc.

Lazar comes to TechnipFMC from the Bristow Group Inc., a Houston-based helicopter company that serves the offshore oil and gas industry.

TechnipFMC, like many companies with a business dependent upon the changing global energy industry, has been reshaping its operations in recent months due to depressed commodities prices, a slump that’s shown some signs of turning a corner.

Bloomberg News reported in March that TechnipFMC suspended a plan to split into two separate companies as a result of economic volatility stemming from the onset of the coronavirus pandemic.

Lazar joined Bristow last year as general counsel, having previously spent about a decade at General Electric Co., where Lazar worked in the conglomerate’s oil drilling services unit and rose to become executive counsel for mergers and acquisitions, and nearly two years as an associate general counsel at GE-owned Baker Hughes Co., which hired a new legal chief in April.

Bristow and Lazar parted ways in June after the company finalized a merger with rival Era Group Inc., a deal whose takeover price remains the subject of litigation in a Delaware court.

In May, the two companies unveiled their post-merger leadership, with Era general counsel and chief administrative officer Crystal Gordon being named legal chief of the combined entity, which kept the Bristow name.

Securities filings related to the merger show that Lazar received more than $1 million in severance, including $643,500 in cash, from Bristow.

Milbank, Tweed, Hadley & McCloy represented Era on its union with Bristow, which turned to Kirkland & Ellis, Bracewell, and Baker Botts for outside counsel.

Lazar began her legal career as a corporate and capital markets associate at Baker Botts in 1990. She spent a half-dozen years at the law firm in Houston before embarking on an in-house career.

At TechnipFMC, Lazar succeeds Dianne Ralston, who resigned from the company Oct. 1 in order to pursue another opportunity, according to a securities filing. Ralston, who received nearly $4.2 million in total compensation from TechnipFMC in 2019, joined predecessor FMC as legal chief in 2015, replacing Jeffrey Carr, an in-house legal pioneer who retired for the second time earlier this year.

Bloomberg data shows that Ralston currently owns almost $1.7 million in TechnipFMC stock. The company, a small stake of which is owned by the French government, is dually headquartered in Houston and Paris.

The Houston-based Lazar, who wasn’t immediately available to discuss her new role overseeing legal, compliance and risk management matters for TechnipFMC, will report to company chairman and CEO Douglas Pferdehirt.

Natalia Shehadeh, a Houston-based lawyer who since early 2018 had been TechnipFMC’s chief compliance officer, left the company in July to become chief integrity officer at ABB Ltd., a Swiss industrial giant looking to offload some of its holdings in the energy space.

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

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

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