Dealmakers, lawyers, investors, regulators – Movers & Shakers – The Deal Pipeline
Subscriber Content Preview | Request a free trialSearch  

Movers & shakers

Sharon Cohen Levin

Kevyn Orr

Ed O'Keefe

Lynne Doughtie

John Hourican

Jonathan Larkin

Kathleen Alyce Waters

Ben Bernanke

Movers & shakers: April 28, 2015

by Baz Hiralal

A statement from Weil Gotshal & Manges LLP read the firm "is saddened to announce today that our partner Harvey R. Miller has died after a courageous battle with ALS. He was 82 years old." Miller not only propelled Weil to bankruptcy fame, but defined modern practice in the sector itself. Read the full take by senior bankruptcy reporter Kelsey Butler.

Prior to Weil, the Brooklyn-born bankruptcy sage practiced at Ballon, Stoll, Shyman & Levine and with Charles Seligson's Seligson, Morris & Neuburger, where Miller led a merger with Weil in 1969, becoming Weil's 14th partner. During his first 20 years at the firm, Miller, along with three other partners, managed the firm until it elected its first executive partner in 1989. From September 2002 to March 2007, he was a managing director and vice chairman of Greenhill & Co.

He is survived by his wife of 60 years, Ruth Miller.

There's a surprising face in the line of government officials heading to the private sector. Sharon Cohen Levin, "the Babe Ruth of Forfeiture" who has never practiced at a law firm, is joining Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr LLP as a partner in New York. Levin is chief of the money laundering and asset forfeiture unit in the U.S. Attorney s Office for the southern district of New York.

In an e-mail exchange, Levin noted it's a busy time for regulators due to increased scrutiny but perhaps an even busier time for the private sector as the financial industry responds. On the new white shoe digs, she said "After many years of coordinating across the range of federal law enforcement agencies, and negotiating and litigating against the finest attorneys in private practice, it is a challenge I am prepared for and excited to take on." As to why Levin is making the move now, she noted the need for quality representation in financial services litigation, anti-money laundering and economic sanctions enforcement but, interestingly, expanded on the thought: "In addition to representation of banks and other financial institutions, the demand is global and reaches many industries not historically considered, including insurance, gaming, oil and gas, and specific new areas of growth including payment processing for digital currency. I also have years of experience related to international asset tracking and recovery in bankruptcy and other civil proceedings. So overall it is a tremendous time to be joining WilmerHale."

Richard Zabel, Deputy U.S. Attorney, SDNY, gave her the baseball moniker after she helped recover billions of dollars from entities including Bernard L. Madoff Investment Securities, Citibank NA, Deutsche Bank AG and Adelphia Communications Corp. In January 2013, Preet Bharara, the U.S. Attorney, SDNY, said the office collected more than $2.98 billion in forfeiture actions in fiscal year 2012, representing the largest amount collected in a given year by any office since the U.S.' asset forfeiture funds were established in the 1980s. The billions have added up more recently as well, with collections from JPMorgan Chase & Co. ($1.7 billion), SAC Capital Advisors LP ($900 million) and 650 Fifth Avenue (a 36-story office tower with an appraised value of $525 million) in an Iran-related shell company case. One interesting case included the return of a Tyrannosaurus bataar skeleton which was looted from the Gobi desert in Mongolia.

Levin joins WilmerHale's financial institutions practice, expanding the firm s anti-money laundering and economic sanctions space. She will also be a member of the firm s investigations and criminal litigation and securities litigation and enforcement practices. In addition to nearly 25 years at the SDNY, Levin also worked at the U.S. Attorney s Office for the District of Columbia and Main Justice in Washington. After six years in the civil division, Levin moved to the SDNY in 1991.

Manatt, Phelps & Phillips LLP recruited partners Douglas C. Boggs, Alan M. Noskow and Joseph G. Passaic from Squire Patton Boggs in Washington. Boggs, who is the youngest son of the late Patton Boggs LLP founder Thomas Hale Boggs Jr., was an office managing partner for several years, served on the firm s management committee, chaired the marketing committee and headed the international practice. His brother T. Hale Boggs is a partner in Manatt s corporate/finance, capital markets and venture capital practices on the West coast, and he founded Manatt s Palo Alto office in 1998 and helped to establish the San Francisco office in 2007.

Passaic also served on Patton Boggs management committee and in other management positions in the financial services and securities practices.

Coty Inc., a member of The Deal's roster of the top 10 most likely potential activist targets, named Elio Leoni Sceti as CEO. Bart Becht, interim CEO and chairman, will remain chairman following the transition. Sceti, former CEO of EMI Group Ltd. s recorded music division, is CEO at Iglo Group. As Jonathan Braude reports, private equity firm Permira just agreed to sell the company which markets Birds Eye branded frozen foods in Britain to London-listed cash shell Nomad Holdings Ltd. in a deal that values Iglo Foods Group Ltd. at €2.6 billion ($2.79 billion).

Sceti also worked for Procter & Gamble Co. and subsequently for 16 years in marketing and senior leadership roles at Reckitt Benckiser Group plc, where he oversaw the North American, European and global categories.

In a statement, Sceti said, "I am also thrilled to be working again with Bart as my chairman at Coty." Before joining Coty, Becht was CEO of Reckitt Benckiser from 1995 to 2011.

Sceti is an independent member of the board of directors of Anheuser-Busch InBev NV and will remain as a nonexecutive board member of Iglo Group. He serves as chairman of Beamly, a social and content discovery platform around television, and as chairman of LSG Holdings, an investment and advisory boutique.

Zion Oil & Gas Inc., which has twice been on The Deal's distressed warning radar, added Dustin L. Guinn to the board as an independent director. Since June 2011, he has been CEO of Viking Services BV, a global service company engaged in oil and gas drilling and completion, well servicing, pressure pumping, wireline, geophysical, civil engineering and transportation. Guinn will be a Class II director up for reelection at the 2016 annual stockholders meeting.

Zion explores for oil and gas onshore in Israel.

Clippings from the next column:

-- K2 Intelligence hires Austin P. Berglas, assistant special agent in charge of the Federal Bureau of Investigation's cyber branch in New York.
-- Dan Stauder and Sean Cessna become co-heads of JMP Securities' healthcare investment banking group.
-- Endo International plc taps Allergan Inc.'s Matthew J. Maletta as chief legal officer.
-- Fortune Brands Home & Security Inc. enlists Nicholas Fink as the senior vice president of global growth and development.


There's a surprising face in the line of government officials heading to the private sector: Sharon Cohen Levin, "the Babe Ruth of Forfeiture."