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Bracewell Bolsters Ties to Energy Company in Management Shakeup

April 10, 2020, 10:44 PM

Downstream energy company Delek US Holdings Inc. announced several executive-level recruits, including a new in-house legal chief.

Abigail Yates, who began her career as an associate at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius and Houston-based law firm Bracewell, joins Delek as an executive vice president, general counsel, and corporate secretary, according to an announcement Thursday. Delek also named Reuven Spiegel chief financial officer and Avigal Soreq chief operating officer.

Yates spent the past six years as general counsel, compliance chief, and senior vice president of human resources at Houston-based turbine services provider Ethos Energy, a $1 billion joint venture formed in 2014 between Scottish energy services company John Wood Group plc and German industrial giant Siemens AG’s TurboCare unit.

Yates comes to Delek the same week that it disclosed a $60,000 payment to Bracewell, which has advised the suburban Nashville-based company on a variety of matters over the years. Delek owns assets in petroleum refining, logistics, asphalt, and renewable fuels.

Delek paid $60,000 to Bracewell during the first quarter of 2020 for the firm to lobby on “environmental issues related to the refining industry, including clean air, energy legislation, and tax code reform,” according to an April 9 filing with the U.S. Senate. Public records show that Bracewell received another $150,000 from Bracewell after being hired by the company for federal advocacy work last year.

General Counsel Switch

Yates inherits Delek’s general counsel role from Regina Jones, who joined the company in May 2018 after serving as legal chief for oilfield services giant Schlumberger Ltd.’s land rigs division.

Jones spent over a dozen years in several different in-house legal positions at Schlumberger, which is also where Yates once worked, serving as a senior litigation counsel for the company between 2002 and 2004, according to her LinkedIn profile.

In a statement, Delek chairman, president, and CEO Uzi Yemin touted Yates’ “strong legal background” and praised Jones for her “support and leadership” during the past two years. “She has been an integral part of our executive team and we wish her well in her new endeavors,” Yemin said.

Jones, who Bloomberg data shows owns Delek stock valued at roughly $424,000, did not respond to a request for comment about her departure. Delek said in a statement that she is leaving to “pursue other opportunities,” but would remain with the company through April 17 as an executive vice president to assist with the transition of its legal duties to Yates.

In a 2019 proxy statement recently filed by Delek, the company said Jones earned more than $1.18 million in total compensation last year, including about $661,640 in cash. Delek has not disclosed how much Yates will be paid. She will take over Jones’ top legal role at Delek, as well as the company’s majority-owned infrastructure master limited partnerhip, Delek Logistics Partners LP.

To contact the reporter on this story: Brian Baxter in New York at bbaxter@bloomberglaw.com

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Seth Stern at sstern@bloomberglaw.com

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