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Out With the Old -- Some GCs Are Getting the Ax

By Gabriella Khorasanee, JD on March 05, 2014 | Last updated on March 21, 2019

We recently posted about the influx of new general counsel at about 10% of large organizations, and the expected corollary to that is former general counsel are leaving those positions. The thing is, some general counsel are not leaving of their own accord.

Here's an update of the recent law department shakeups (some voluntary, some not) making headlines.

Pfizer's Amy Schulman and Ellen Rosenthal

Last December, Pfizer's general counsel Amy Schulman stepped down "by mutual agreement," according to a Pfizer press release. In a continuing transition in the legal department, last week Ellen Rosenthal's departure was announced. Chief Counsel for the Pfizer Legal Alliance, Rosenthal will no longer manage the 15 law firms representing the company, reports CorporateCounsel.

J.P. Morgan's Cindy Armine

It seems Cindy Armine has left for greener pastures. As the former Chief Compliance Officer of J.P. Morgan Chase, who could blame her? She's had a rough year dealing with one headache after another, and is expected to start working for First Data Corp., reports The Wall Street Journal. In the interim, Lou Rauchenber, J.P. Morgan's chief administrative officer will be acting in Armine's old role, reports Reuters.

WellPoint's John Cannon

A few weeks ago, John Cannon, WellPoint Inc.'s general counsel and interim chief executive officer, was fired without cause, reports the Indianapolis Business Journal. According to a Form 8-K the company filed, Cannon will remain in his position "until the early part of March 2014 to assist in the transition of his duties."

Is Richard Walker of Deutsche Bank Next?

Rumors are circulating that amidst a rate rigging scandal in Europe, Deutsche Bank is considering letting go of its U.S.-based general counsel Richard Walker, reports Bloomberg. However, the bank has dismissed such allegations and stated, "[w]e do not comment on unfounded speculation and gossip," according to Bloomberg.

Getting fired is a sad reality of the legal industry (or any industry really), and no one, not even general counsel are safe. Of course, these things don't happen in a vacuum, and these lawyers were probably smart enough to see the writing on the wall. Our advice to you? Don't ignore the signs, and always have a plan B.

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