Former SEC General Counsel Robert Stebbins Rejoins Willkie As Head of Corporate Governance Practice
New York, NY (September 14, 2021) --- Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP today announced that Robert B. Stebbins, former General Counsel for the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), has rejoined the Firm as a partner in the Corporate & Financial Services Department, where he will head the Firm’s Corporate Governance practice. He is based in the Firm’s New York office. Prior to joining the SEC in 2017, he worked at Willkie for 24 years, first as an associate and beginning in 2001 as a partner.
“Bob is a skilled leader and talented practitioner who helped navigate numerous novel and complex issues faced by the SEC. His direct experience and deep understanding of the regulatory and legal intricacies that companies face today will be a tremendous benefit to our clients,” said Thomas Cerabino, Firm Chairman. “We are delighted to welcome him back to the Firm.”
As the SEC’s chief legal officer and head of its Office of the General Counsel (OGC), Bob led a 150-person team responsible for, among other things, advising on rulemaking matters and enforcement actions, and preparing Commission opinions in adjudications. He led OGC during one of the most active and wide-ranging rule calendars in the agency's history, advising on more than 85 rules, and hundreds of Commission and staff orders and interpretive releases. During his tenure, OGC also provided day-to-day guidance to the SEC’s Enforcement Division on over 2,750 enforcement actions. In his capacity as General Counsel, he structured and supervised internal investigations, coordinated interagency matters with other federal agencies, provided briefings to Congressional committees and was actively involved in the restarting of the SEC’s Fellowship Program with a focus on hiring minority attorneys. During the spring of 2020, he was detailed to the Department of the Treasury to advise on the CARES Act implementation (while at the same time continuing to function as the SEC’s General Counsel), for which service he received the Secretary of Treasury’s Honor Award.
Bob Stebbins commented: “After previously spending more than 20 years at Willkie, I could not be happier to rejoin the firm and my former colleagues here. The firm’s lawyers are talented and well-respected, its culture is collaborative, and the dedication to client service is exceptional. I look forward to further developing my practice and drawing upon my regulatory experience to help our clients.”
Willkie’s Corporate & Financial Services Department advises leading companies across industries in all aspects of corporate and financial transactions, including purchasing and selling businesses and companies, raising capital and implementing other commercial transactions. Willkie is consistently ranked among the nation’s leading firms for mergers and acquisitions, representing buyers, sellers, special committees of boards, debt and equity investors and financial advisors in some of the most significant and complex acquisition transactions. Our attorneys advise on notable domestic matters, as well as complex cross-border transactions, working in close cooperation with our European offices.
Willkie Farr & Gallagher LLP is an international law firm of approximately 1,000 attorneys with offices in Brussels, Chicago, Frankfurt, Houston, London, Los Angeles, Milan, New York, Palo Alto, Paris, Rome, San Francisco and Washington. The Firm is headquartered in New York City at 787 Seventh Avenue.
Bain Capital Credit Acquires Majority Stake in GAIL’s Bakery
On September 14, Willkie client Bain Capital Credit, a leading global credit specialist, announced it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire a majority stake in Bread Holdings, the parent company of GAIL’s Bakery and The Bread Factory, in partnership with EBITDA Investments, a food ecosystem fund backed by Henry McGovern and Steve Winegar.
Bain Capital Credit’s investment will support the group’s growth and ensure business continuity with key management, committed to the long-term success of the business, remaining in place. The current chairman, Luke Johnson, remains invested and on the board.
Bread Holdings is the holding company of the Bread Factory and GAIL's Artisan Bakery, a fast growing and critically acclaimed retail bakery and cafe. The bakery was started by Yael (Gail) Mejia in the early 1990’s serving top chefs and food venues. In 2003, Tom Molnar and a few friends joined Yael’s premium wholesale craft bakery and grew the business organically. Over the past ten years the business has grown to seventy three GAIL’s and serves premium grocery players, such as Harvey Nichols and Waitrose, as well as premium hospitality and restaurants.
Bain Capital Credit is a leading global credit specialist with approximately $48 billion in assets under management. Bain Capital Credit invests across the full spectrum of strategies, including leveraged loans, high-yield bonds, distressed debt and special situations, private lending, structured products, non-performing loans, and majority and minority equity stakes.
The London-based Willkie deal team was led by finance partner Ashley Young and corporate partners Gavin Gordon and Andrew Gray, and included associates Komal Raina, Vanessa Tse, Megan Gairns and Chloe Szczerbiak.