Linkedin hires ex-Skadden lawyer and Yahoo! legal head as GC

LinkedIn has appointed former Yahoo! legal chief and one-time Skadden Arps Slate Meagher & Flom lawyer Michael Callahan as its new general counsel.

Callahan, who will step into the role at the end of this month, replaces Erika Rottenberg, who announced in April she would be stepping down from the in-house legal team she has headed since 2008.

At LinkedIn, Callahan will report to CEO Jeff Weiner as a member of the executive team.

Currently chief legal officer and executive vice president of real estate market Auction.com, Callahan was previously general counsel of Yahoo! for nearly 13 years, during which time he advised the company on Microsoft’s hostile takeover bid in 2008. He was also thought to be a driving force in Yahoo’s decision to sue Facebook over online advertising patents.

Prior to his in-house career, Callahan worked in Skadden’s Washington DC, Boston and San Francisco offices as an associate and corporate legal assistant between 1990 and 1999.

“I have had the privilege of knowing Mike for more than a decade,” said Weiner. “He is one of the best legal minds in our industry, as well as a proven leader of world class legal teams.”

Callahan – who at the time of writing had not updated his LinkedIn profile to reflect the appointment – becomes the company’s second GC.

Rottenberg, who helped manage the company’s 2011 launch on the New York Stock Exchange, was reportedly awarded $27m (£16.6m) in shares and stock options as part of the initial public offering.

Before joining LinkedIn, Rottenberg was GC for SumTotal Systems, a Florida-based talent development enterprise software company. She began her legal career at US law firm Cooley – the same firm that represented the underwriters on LinkedIn’s IPO.

Announcing her departure from the company in April, Rottenberg said she would be taking some time off, and that she was “forever indebted to my colleagues and friends for building a company that has changed the way the world works”.