Microsoft’s Stahlkopf Joins Cisco as General Counsel (3)

Microsoft Inc. Advocate General Dev Stahlkopf is leaving the company as part of a restructuring of the legal department to join Cisco Systems Inc. as the new executive vice president and general counsel.

Stahlkopf will start at Cisco, based in San Jose, Calif., On August 2, after 14 years at Microsoft, where she started as a senior lawyer. Longtime Cisco CLO Mark Chandler confirmed his retirement in an email to Bloomberg Law.

Cisco produces hardware and software that facilitate Internet networks, and the company claims that 85% of Internet traffic passes through Cisco systems. The company made more than $ 11 billion in profits last year, according to its annual report.

“Dev brings extensive experience to many key issues for Cisco, including global geopolitical issues, cross-border data issues, data privacy, intellectual property and immigration reform,” the president and CEO said Tuesday. Cisco General, Chuck Robbins. “I am delighted to welcome Dev to Cisco! “

Stahlkopf became general counsel for Microsoft in 2018, according to her LinkedIn profile, where she worked under the direction of company president Brad Smith. The tech giant launched its Bing search engine and acquired Skype and LinkedIn Corp. during his tenure.

Stahlkopf’s departure comes as Microsoft has restructured its internal legal group, according to an internal Smith memo obtained by Bloomberg Law.

The company’s vice presidents and deputy general counsel Lisa Tanzi and Hossein Nowbar to split his role as general counsel. Tanzi, a 25-year Microsoft veteran, will lead the customer experience and company policy team. Nowbar, who spent 23 years at Microsoft, will lead a new corporate legal affairs team and serve as corporate secretary.

Microsoft’s deputy general counsel Julie Brill, a former Hogan Lovells partner hired by the company in 2017 to oversee privacy and regulatory affairs, will continue to handle these tasks and serve as the privacy officer. Brill will also take responsibility for artificial intelligence, digital security, accessibility compliance and regulatory governance, Smith said in his memo.

Microsoft’s legal department, as Smith noted in his note below, has long been a recruiting ground for other tech companies. ByteDance Ltd., owner of TikTok, hired Microsoft vice president and chief intellectual property advisor Erich Andersen last year to be its chief legal officer. Spotify Technology SA hired former Microsoft general counsel Horacio Gutierrez in 2016 and last year promoted him to his senior legal position and appointed him head of global affairs. Workday Inc. has also welcomed former Microsoft Deputy General Counsel Richard Sauer to its top lawyer in 2019.

Diversity efforts, allegations of bias

Stahlkopf is a strong advocate for diversity in the legal industry. In May, she told Bloomberg Law that Microsoft had placed more emphasis on black and Latin leadership in its outside law firms.

Her new employer has made similar commitments to diversity. Last September, Cisco pledged to increase the percentage of black employees at the company in leadership positions by 25% by 2023. In 2019, only 3.8% of Cisco employees in the United States were black.

In recent years, Cisco and Microsoft have faced legal challenges from the Department of Labor alleging gender and race discrimination against employees.

Cisco agreed in March 2020 to pay nearly $ 5 million in lost wages and more to women and minority employees accusing the company of pay discrimination. Months later, Microsoft paid $ 3 million to settle allegations of racial bias in its hiring practices.

“When it comes to diversity and inclusion, Microsoft believes there is still a need for improvement and we remain focused on creating environments where every Microsoft employee is able to do their best,” said a Microsoft spokesperson at the time.

Prior to her stint at Microsoft, Stahlkopf was a lawyer at Perkins Coie.

Chandler retired from Cisco on May 6, his 65th birthday, after 25 years at Cisco and more than three decades as general counsel for Silicon Valley, he said in an email to Bloomberg Law. . He is now working on an access to justice project and has formed his own consulting firm, Whistler Strategies LLC, named after his dog.

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