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BAKERHOSTETLER EXPANDS BUSINESS AND ENERGY PRACTICES

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Laura McMahon

International Corporate Finance & M&A Partner Laura J. McMahon Joins Houston Office; Brings Extensive Energy and Latin American Transactional Experience

BakerHostetler is proud to announce that Laura J. McMahon has joined the firm as a partner in the corporate and energy practices, resident in the Houston office. She comes to BakerHostetler from Norton Rose Fulbright, where she co-chaired the Latin America Practice Group. McMahon joins the firm just weeks after the Denver office arrival of Poe Leggette and team, also from Norton Rose.

Laura McMahon

Laura McMahon

McMahon brings more than 20 years of experience counselling global clients, headquartered in and outside the U.S., on sophisticated matters including capital markets, securities compliance, corporate governance, mergers and acquisitions and joint ventures, particularly in the midstream master limited partnerships (MLPs) and oilfield services areas. In the past six years, she has facilitated more than $8.8 billion in combined gross proceeds in debt and equity offerings. During that same period, McMahon completed acquisition, disposition, and joint venture transactions totalling more than $3.2 billion. She represents clients in the energy, infrastructure, mining and commodities sectors, as well as other industries. McMahon’s fluency in Spanish and Portuguese has allowed her to serve multinational clients in cross-border transactions in Latin America.

“At a time when the Mexican energy sector is opening to upstream investments, Laura’s unique skills will be invaluable to the firm’s energy clients,” said Poe Leggette, new co-chair of BakerHostetler’s national Energy and Shale practice. “We have made huge strides in the last few months to continue to grow the firm’s national reputation in the energy space, and Laura will greatly contribute to that effort given her skillset and geographic location in the world’s energy capital.”

“Laura’s breadth of experience, both domestically and internationally, adds more depth to our already strong capital markets and transactional capabilities,” said John Gherlein, Chair of the firm’s Business Group. “Our clients will benefit from her industry expertise as well as her substantial experience in Latin America.”

“The firm is pleased to welcome Laura to BakerHostetler,” said Lisa Pennington, Managing Partner of the firm’s Houston office. “Her depth of experience and relationships impart a global perspective that continues to strengthen our team of energy attorneys throughout BakerHostetler.”

“Joining BakerHostetler is a unique opportunity. I hold this firm in high regard for its collaboration within the organization to benefit the firm’s clients,” said McMahon. “I look forward to working with teams across the firm to achieve successful transactions for our clients here and outside the U.S.”

McMahon earned her J.D. from the University of Houston in 1991, and was a member of Phi Delta Phi. She received her B.A. with distinction in the curriculum in Spanish, from the University of Illinois in 1977. She is a member of the International Bar Association, State Bar of Texas, and the Houston Bar Association. McMahon is a founder and board member for the Center for Women in Law at The University of Texas School of Law, and serves as a member of the advisory board for the Women in Law Empowerment Forum.

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs

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Bitcoin, ether hit fresh highs 1

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Bitcoin hit a fresh high in Asian trading on Saturday, extending a two-month rally that saw its market capitalisation cross $1 trillion a day earlier.

The world’s most popular cryptocurrency rose to an record $56,620, taking its weekly gain to 18%. It has surged more than 92% this year.

Bitcoin’s gains have been fuelled by evidence it is gaining acceptance among mainstream investors and companies, such as Tesla Inc, Mastercard Inc and BNY Mellon.

Ether, the second-largest cryptocurrency by market capitalization and daily volume, hit a record $2,040.62, for a weekly gain of about 12%.

Ether is the digital currency or token that facilitates transactions on the ethereum blockchain. In the crypto world, the terms ether and ethereum have become interchangeable.

Ether futures contracts launched on derivatives exchange CME earlier this month.

(Reporting by Vidya Ranganathan; Editing by William Mallard)

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers

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World Bank pushing for standard vaccine contracts, more disclosure from makers 2

By Andrea Shalal

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The World Bank is working to standardize COVID-19 vaccine contracts that countries are signing with drug makers, and is pushing manufacturers to be more open about where doses are headed, as it races to get more vaccines to poor countries, the bank’s president said on Friday.

World Bank President David Malpass told Reuters he expected the bank’s board to have approved $1.6 billion in vaccine funding for 12 countries, including the Philippines, Bangladesh, Tunisia and Ethiopia, by the end of March, with 30 more to follow shortly thereafter.

The bank is working with local governments to identify and fill gaps in distribution capacity, after they purchase vaccines under a $12 billion World Bank program, and also to standardize the contracts they are signing with manufacturers, he said.

The bank’s International Finance Corp, its private financing arm, has $4 billion to invest in expanding existing production plants or building new ones, including in developed countries, but needs more data on where current production is headed, he said.

“We are eager to be investing in new capacity, but it’s hard to do because you don’t know how much of the existing capacity is already committed to the various off-takers,” Malpass said in an interview with Reuters. New or expanded plants could be used to produce other types of vaccinations in the future, he said.

The bank’s funds could be used to expand plants in advanced economies, if the production was earmarked for developing nations, he said.

Malpass welcomed Friday’s pledge by the Group of Seven rich countries to intensify cooperation on the pandemic, saying it could help jump-start deliveries of vaccines to poorer countries, which are lagging far behind rich countries in getting shots in arms.

Data compiled by Our World In Data, a scientific online publication, showed Israel was leading the world in COVID-19 vaccinations, with nearly 82 of 100 people vaccinated, while India and Bangladesh reported less than one person per 100, Many African countries have not started at all.

Malpass said he was heartened by news about new vaccines coming down the road, and about Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE seeking permission to store their vaccine at higher temperatures, which would ease another obstacle to deliveries in lower-income countries.

(Reporting by Andrea Shalal; Editing by Heather Timmons and Leslie Adler)

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion

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Google to evaluate executive performance on diversity, inclusion 3

By Paresh Dave

(Reuters) – Alphabet Inc’s Google will evaluate the performance of its vice presidents and above on team diversity and inclusion starting this year, the company said on Friday in one of several responses to concerns about its treatment of a Black scientist.

Timnit Gebru, co-leader of Google’s ethical artificial intelligence research team, said in December that Google abruptly fired her after she criticized its diversity efforts and threatened to resign.

Alphabet and Google Chief Executive Sundar Pichai ordered a review of the situation. While Google declined to share specific findings, the company announced on Friday it will engage human resources specialists during sensitive employee departures.

Pichai in June said that by 2025, Google aims to have 30% more of its leaders come from underrepresented groups, with a focus on Black, Latinx and Native American leaders in the United States and female technical leaders globally. About 96% of Google’s U.S. leaders at the time were white or Asian, and 73% globally were men.

As a result of the investigation, the company also expanded a commitment announced in June to devote more resources to retaining and promoting existing employees, including by expanding a team addressing disputes among workers and their managers.

The diversity component of executive performance reviews was not previously announced, and the company did not immediately share details about what would be measured and how pay would be affected.

Alphabet for years had rejected proposals from shareholders and employees to set diversity goals and tie executive pay to them.

Irene Knapp, a former Google employee who advocated for one such proposal at a 2018 shareholder meeting, said on Friday, “I am pleased that they met our demand from 2018, which was a bare minimum that should have been easy to do immediately.”

Evaluating managers on diversity goals is becoming more commonplace. McDonald’s Corp on Thursday tied executive bonuses to diversity.

(Reporting by Paresh Dave; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)

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