The new year will bring new leadership to the law departments at Six Flags Entertainment Corp. and Harley-Davidson Inc., after both companies disclosed that the nearly decade-long run of their respective in-house legal chiefs will soon end.
Six Flags, which is based near Dallas, said that Lance Balk had informed the amusement park operator Nov. 13 of his intention to retire as executive vice president and general counsel “on or after” Feb. 28, 2020. A transition and retirement agreement executed between Balk and Six Flags states that he will receive a base salary of $10,000 per month for the first year following his retirement, during which time he will serve as an of counsel adviser to the company, according to a Nov. 15 securities filing by Six Flags.
That sum will be reduced to $5,000 per month in the second year of the agreement, according to the filing. Balk, a former Kirkland & Ellis partner who lives in the Chicago suburb of Lake Forest, Ill., will also be provided with an office and administrative support at a Six Flags corporate office in nearby Gurnee, Ill.
A proxy statement filed by Six Flags earlier this year showed that Balk earned $1.3 million in total compensation from the company in 2018. Balk joined Six Flags as general counsel in 2010, shortly after the company emerged from bankruptcy protection. He did not return a request for comment about his future plans or potential successor as Six Flags’ legal chief.
Nor did Paul Jones, who is set to leave his role as chief legal and compliance officer at Milwaukee-based motorcycle maker Harley-Davidson on Nov. 29. Jones, whose securities filings show he took home $2.27 million in total compensation from the company last year, was hired by Harley-Davidson in 2010 after he spent nearly four years as general counsel at electric motor manufacturer Regal Beloit Corp.
In a Nov. 15 filing, Harley-Davidson wished Jones well in “his next professional ventures” and said it has begun a search for his replacement. Bloomberg Law reported this week that Harley-Davidson will have to face claims in Utah over a fatal tire blowout.
More Legal Machinations
Maria “Masha” Trainor, a former K&L Gates partner serving as vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary at Ampco-Pittsburgh Corp., is poised to leave the specialty steel manufacturer as part of a corporate downsizing. The Carnegie, Pa.-based company disclosed in a Nov. 20 securities filing that Trainor would depart its ranks as a “result of a reduction in force.”
Trainor, who was born in Russia and emigrated to the U.S. at 17, joined Ampco-Pittsburgh in mid-2015. She did not return a request for comment. Ampco-Pittsburgh said that Trainor is eligible for a severance package that will allow her to be paid for up to one year. In other recent developments:
- Bloomberg Law reported last month on a law department leadership transition at Terex Corp., a manufacturer of cranes and other heavy equipment whose general counsel Eric Cohen is stepping down after 22 years as the Westport, Conn.-based company’s top in-house lawyer. Cohen will be replaced by new general counsel Scott Posner, while current chief compliance officer Stacey Babson-Smith will now report directly to Terex’s CEO.
- Bonita Springs, Fla-.based equipment rental supplier Herc Holdings Inc. hired Wade Sheek as its new chief legal officer. Sheek, who spent nearly the past two years as general counsel at Republic Airways Holdings Inc., replaces Maryann Waryjas, who retired from Herc over the summer but still serves as a special adviser to the company. Herc hired Waryjas, a former co-chair of the corporate governance and mergers and acquisitions practices at Katten Muchin Rosenman, when it was spun off in late 2015 from rental car giant Hertz Global Holdings Inc.
- The Toro Co., a Bloomington, Minn.-based manufacturer of lawn mowers, snow removal devices, and other outdoor equipment, tapped Amy Dahl to succeed the retiring Timothy Dordell as its general counsel on Jan. 10. Dordell became Toro’s general counsel in May 2007, just before the company hired Dahl, then an associate at what is now Norton Rose Fulbright. Dahl went on to hold a variety of in-house roles at Toro, including assistant general counsel and vice president of human resources and distributor development.
A Higher Power
The Episcopal Church has a new top lawyer. Suzanne Baillie, a Harvard Law School graduate and former associate at Debevoise & Plimpton in New York, has been named interim general counsel for the church. Baillie did not return a request for comment about her new role, which was announced in a statement by Episcopal Church Presiding Bishop Michael Bishop.
Baillie, who from 2003 to 2008 served as counsel for the Domestic and Foreign Missionary Society, the Episcopal Church’s corporate and legal arm, replaces Polsinelli partner Douglas Anning as interim legal chief. Anning, who is based in Kansas City, Mo., also did not return a request for comment. Curry’s statement said Baillie replaced Anning as part of the church’s plan to hire a full-time chief legal officer. In other developments:
- AccuWeather Inc. promoted acting general counsel Jennifer Chung to general counsel and chief legal officer. Chung, a former assistant general counsel at Time Inc., joined the State College, Pa.-based commercial weather forecasting service last year as associate general counsel. She had also previously been an associate at several law firms and a prosecutor in New York. Chung’s ascension to AccuWeather’s top in-house legal role came shortly before Barry Lee Myers, the company’s ex-CEO and former general counsel, withdrew his nomination to head the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, citing health reasons.
- Bumble, the Austin, Texas-based dating app whose parent company MagicLab recently sold a majority stake in itself to buyout giant The Blackstone Group Inc., did so after promoting former Proskauer Rose and Winstead associate Elizabeth Monteleone to director of legal affairs in September. Monteleone joined Bumble last year as an in-house legal counsel, having heard about the job opening through someone she met in a Bumble friendship group, according to an Entrepreneur magazine story. In a brief email, Monteleone told Bloomberg Law that Bumble hopes to expand the size of its law department next year.
- The Broad Foundations, a Los Angeles-based nonprofit with more than $3 billion in assets linked to billionaire Eli Broad and his wife, Edyth, appointed Shawn White as its new general counsel. White, a former Simpson Thacher & Bartlett associate who has held in-house roles at Prudential Financial Inc., the City National Bank of New Jersey, a Los Angeles talent agency, and a consulting outfit for women-owned businesses, will also serve as general counsel for the Broad Family Office. Her predecessor, Deborah Kanter, is now project manager for a former juvenile detention facility in Los Angeles being repurposed into a vocational training center.