Latham Elects Chairman, Managing Partner: Business of Law

London project development and project financing lawyer Bill Voge has been elected Latham & Watkins LLP’s new global chairman and managing partner, succeeding Robert M. Dell, who is retiring after two decades as head of the firm.

“He is clear-sighted and a consensus-builder who is highly attuned to our unique culture, client service and the external market forces driving change in the legal profession,” Dell said of Voge in a statement.

Voge, who joined Latham in 1983 and was elected to the partnership in 1991, will take over at the start of the year. He spent eight years on the firm’s executive committee and has been global chairman of the finance department and global co-chairman of the project-finance practice. His work has included acting on electricity and oil and gas projects in the U.S. and globally.

“I look forward to the opportunity to work with vice chairs Dave Gordon and Ora Fisher and Chief Operating Officer LeeAnn Black, all of whom have terrific judgment, drive and leadership,” Voge said in a statement.

Deals

Jones Day Advises Reynolds on $25 Billion Lorillard Acquisition

Jones Day is advising Reynolds American Inc. (RAI), which agreed to buy Lorillard Inc. for about $25 billion excluding debt, a deal that would leave the 400-year-old U.S. tobacco industry with two competitors controlling 90 percent of the market. Simpson Thacher & Bartlett LLP is advising Lorillard.

The Jones Day deal team is led by Randi Lesnick and Jere Thomson, mergers and acquisitions. Additional partners include Craig Waldman and Joe Sims, antitrust; Dan Hagen, employee benefits and executive compensation; and Warren Nachlis, intellectual property.

The Simpson Thacher team includes Robert Spatt, Eric Swedenburg, Adam Signy and Derek Baird, mergers and acquisitions; Brian Steinhardt and Stephen Short, credit; Kevin Arquit and Matt Reilly, regulatory; David Rubinsky, executive compensation and employee benefits; and Gary Mandel and Lori Lesser, IP.

Reynolds, the producer of Camel and Pall Mall cigarettes, will pay a mixture of cash and stock valuing each Lorillard share at $68.88, according to a statement. British American Tobacco Plc (BATS) will fund $4.7 billion of the transaction, letting it maintain a 42 percent stake in Reynolds. BAT’s U.K. rival Imperial Tobacco Group Plc (IMT), meanwhile, will acquire brands such as Kool and Blu e-cigarettes for $7.1 billion, potentially assuaging antitrust concerns.

Cravath, Swaine & Moore LLP represented BAT with a team led by mergers and acquisitions partners Philip A. Gelston and Ting S. Chen. The team also included partners Michael L. Schler, tax, and Christine A. Varney, antitrust. 

Allen & Overy LLP represents Imperial Tobacco. The team was led by partners Jeremy Parr and Eric Shube and was supported by partner Elaine Johnston.

Sullivan & Cromwell LLP represented Centerview Partners and Barclays, as financial advisers to Lorillard, Inc. The New York-based Sullivan & Cromwell team on the transaction includes corporate partners Francis J. Aquila and Brian E. Hamilton.

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Moves

Hughes Hubbard, Jones Day: Lateral Partner Moves Roundup

Michael Weinsier, Hughes Hubbard & Reed LLP’s private-equity practice chairman for the past 10 years, joined Troutman Sanders LLP in New York in its private-equity practice.

Also in New York, Samidh Guha moved to Jones Day in the securities litigation and SEC enforcement practice from Akin Gump Strauss Hauer & Feld LLP.

Snell & Wilmer added seven attorneys, including partners Lucas Narducci and Mitchell Klein and a policy adviser to the firm’s environmental and natural resources group in Phoenix. The group joins the firm from Polsinelli LLP.

King & Spalding LLP recruited Samuel S. Choy in the tax and employee benefits and executive compensation practices in Atlanta from McKenna Long & Aldridge LLP.

Latham & Watkins LLP said that Sami Al-Louzi joined the firm as a partner in the corporate department in the Riyadh and Dubai offices from Vinson & Elkins LLP. His practice focuses primarily on equity capital markets in Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern markets and on cross-border mergers and acquisitions.

Litigation

GM’s Top Lawyer Says Some Staff Failed on Ignition-Switch Recall

General Motors Co. (GM)’s top lawyer said some of his staff failed the company in handling an ignition-switch defect and delayed the recalls that spurred U.S. government investigations.

Some lawyers made mistakes, Michael Millikin, GM’s general counsel, said in written testimony to be delivered to a Senate Commerce subcommittee. Advance copies of remarks of five witnesses, including Chief Executive Officer Mary Barra, were obtained by Bloomberg News.

“We had lawyers at GM who didn’t do their jobs; didn’t do what was expected of them,” Millikin said in his statement. “Those lawyers are no longer with the company.”

GM has recalled almost 26 million cars in the U.S. so far this year, an all-time annual record that took shape in February when the company announced an ignition-switch defect that engineers had known about for years. This week’s hearing is GM’s fourth since April 1 and will be more comprehensive, featuring Kenneth Feinberg, who is administering a victim-compensation program, and Anton Valukas, who led GM’s internal investigation.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Elizabeth Amon in New York at eamon2@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net Charles Carter, David E. Rovella

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