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Mutant Capitalism

Ex-Bear Stearns GC Resurfaces at Lender WaMu

U.S. lending giant Washington Mutual has hired the former general counsel of stricken investment bank Bear Stearns. It named Michael Solender as its executive vice president and chief legal officer earlier this month.

Solender will take on responsibility for overseeing the company's legal, compliance and government relations functions, reporting to chief executive Kerry Killinger. He also becomes a member of the group's executive committee.

Solender succeeds interim legal chief Stewart Landefeld, who is returning to private practice with Perkins Coie in Seattle.

Solender joined Bear Stearns in 2002 and became general counsel in 2004, heading up a 500-strong legal and compliance department. Prior to that he was a partner with Washington, D.C., firm Arnold & Porter and also had a stint as general counsel of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Killinger commented: "[Solender] brings a terrific combination of skill, experience and proven effectiveness to this important role. Plus, he will fit well with WaMu's culture."

In March, The American Lawyer reported that Solender was set to leave his previous employer with a substantial profit, having unloaded 2,087 stock options at $89 per share three months before the stock price of Bear Stearns plunged below $3.

The sale meant Solender pocketed $186,000 in December 2007, according to forms filed with the Securities & Exchange Commission.

JPMorgan bought Bear Stearns in March of this year, with Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom advising the target and Wachtell Lipton Rosen & Katz instructed by JPMorgan.
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