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International in-house moves – Total SA, Global Eagle and Environ bring in new GCs

A clutch of international general counsel moves this week has seen Total bring in oilfield services heavyweight Maarten Scholten as its head of legal while across the Atlantic Jay Itzkowitz has been hired as senior vice president and general counsel (GC) of NASDAQ-listed in-flight entertainment provider Global Eagle and international environmental consultancy Environ has appointed its first-ever general counsel.

At French oil giant Total SA – one of the six ‘supermajor’ oil companies in the world – incumbent senior vice-president and GC Peter Herbel will hand over the reins to Scholten on 1 January after nine years in the role.

Scholten, who as chief legal officer will have worldwide responsibilities for the oil giant’s corporate governance and compliance policies, started his career at Dutch firm Loeff & van der Ploeg (which became part of Allen & Overy in 2000) and spent two decades in senior and executive positions at the world’s largest oilfield services company, Schlumberger. From 2006 to 2009, he co-founded – and held the role of co-executive director at – Delta Hydrocarbons, a private equity firm investing in the oil and gas business.

Total turned over €180bn at the end of financial year 2012, a 9% increase on the year before. In May the company agreed to pay $398m in penalties for bribing an Iran official to gain access to oil fields in the fourth biggest FCPA case ever.

Meanwhile, across the pond, Itzkowitz, who has spent the past eight years as senior managing director at capital markets investment bank Cantor Fitzgerald, became legal chief at LA-based Global Eagle on 1 October.

Itzkowitz, who started his career as a corporate associate at Paul Weiss Rifkind Wharton & Garrison in New York, has held senior in-house positions at News Corporation and News International in London, where he moved in 1999, followed by a period at Sky Global in New York.

Dave Davis, chief financial officer of Global Eagle said: ‘Given our multi-faceted growth strategy, we are fortunate to have attracted such a seasoned professional with substantial experience and relationships worldwide.’

This week, Global Eagle announced it had acquired Travel Entertainment Group for $36m in cash.

Elsewhere, on 1 October, former Drinker Biddle & Reath M&A partner Samuel Mason took up his role as the first general counsel of Environ, a global environmental consultancy operating from 85 offices across 19 countries.

Mason, who served as Environ’s primary external counsel for more than ten years and has over 35 years’ corporate experience, will continue to work with his former firm to provide advice to Environ’s board of directors and global management committee.

Stephen Washburn, Environ’s CEO, said: ‘Sam’s appointment reflects Environ’s continuing commitment to provide strong, ethical leadership that supports the firm’s growing global platform and addresses the diverse and complex business and legal needs that accompany this growth.’

Projects Environ has been involved in include developing a comprehensive air quality system for the Hong Kong environmental protection department to address pollution concerns.