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January 6, 2011
WASHINGTON, DC, January 6, 2011 — Covington & Burling LLP announced today that it plans to establish a strategic risk and crisis management practice to assist national and international businesses and their managements and boards.
Senior members of the group include former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff; Ambassador Stuart Eizenstat; former DC Attorney General Peter Nickles; former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue; and Thomas Williamson, former U.S. Solicitor of Labor.
“This team brings decades of experience advising clients on managing high profile governmental, transactional and investigative matters,” said Timothy Hester, chair of Covington’s management committee. “More importantly for our clients, each of these five senior lawyers has had operational and management responsibility for high-risk situations and crises and has successfully navigated through these issues.”
A former federal judge, U.S. Attorney and a senior Justice Department official, Secretary Chertoff will provide high-level strategic counsel to corporate and government clients on a broad range of matters including risk identification and prevention, preparedness, response and recovery.
“Legal risk management and crises management have become every CEO and board’s concern,” Mr. Chertoff said. “Covington will help clients develop comprehensive strategies for legal matters that will allow them to carry on with their businesses.”
Ambassador Eizenstat is a former White House domestic policy adviser, U.S. Ambassador to the European Union, under secretary of Commerce for International Trade, under secretary of State for Economic, Business and Agricultural Affairs, and deputy secretary of the Treasury. He commented: “The capability to resolve cross border issues and business disputes with U.S. and other governments, and the ability to mediate international business transactions and regulations around the world, is critical to global corporations seriously focused on strategic risk and crisis management.”
After 17 years of serving as the commissioner of the NFL, Mr. Tagliabue understands the importance and challenges of building and protecting a global brand. Mr. Tagliabue has spent much of the past two decades working with business and public policy leaders in China, India, Japan, Southeast Asia and Europe. He noted: “It is critically important for companies to develop global enterprise risk management strategies that guard the corporate and organization’s brand, maximize marketplace opportunities and minimize the damage to brands during a crisis in this internet and social media age.”
Mr. Williamson led the legal function at the Labor Department and has advised corporations and their boards on a wide array of difficult employment-related issues. According to Williamson: “Managing the media, litigation and investor issues arising out of class action claims and even employment controversies surrounding individual senior executives will continue to be an important boardroom concern in the coming years.”
“Covington has scores of lawyers with deep experience in government and internal investigations, contested transactions, and with other issues that pose significant financial, reputational and legal risk,” said Mr. Nickles, who will be heavily involved in managing this initiative.