Brian D. Robbins is a Partner at the Firm and the Head of the Firm’s Executive Compensation and Employee Benefits Practice. He has extensive experience in the areas of executive compensation, employee benefits and ERISA and routinely advises the Firm’s corporate clients in connection with compensation and employment matters and has represented numerous high-profile senior executives in connection with the negotiation of employment and termination agreements. Senior executive advisory roles have included representing the compensation committee or executive involving:
- Vice-President Al Gore
- Chief Executive Officers of Avon Corporation; Cleveland Browns Football Club; Evercore; The Guggenheim; Hearst Corporation; National Geographic; The New School; News Corp.; Northwest Airlines; NPR; Ralph Lauren Corporation; Office Depot; Tommy Hilfiger; Virgin Mobile; and Weatherford International
Brian’s practice has included participation in numerous complex mergers and acquisitions, securities, and commercial banking transactions involving issues arising under Title I and Title IV of ERISA and related provisions of the Internal Revenue Code; the structuring and implementation of management equity arrangements, deferred compensation, and other executive compensation, employment and severance programs; advice with respect to tax, accounting and securities law issues related to the implementation of qualified and non-qualified compensation arrangements; and experience with respect to Title I fiduciary, plan assets, and prohibited transaction concerns arising in connection with venture capital investments and corporate transactions.
Representative merger and acquisition transactions include:
- Office Depot in its merger of equals transaction resulting in a new business owned by the public shareholders of Office Depot and OfficeMax
- Apax Partners in its $6.3 billion acquisition of Kinetic Concepts, Inc.
- Northwest Airlines in its stock-for-stock merger with Delta Airlines
- Mars, Incorporated in its $23 billion acquisition of The Wm. Wrigley Jr. Company
- Eaton Corporation in its $11.8 billion acquisition of Cooper Industries The compensation committee of DirecTV in connection with DirecTV’s $48.5 billion merger with AT&T
Brian works closely with the Firm’s numerous private equity and leveraged buyout fund clients in order to assure qualification as “venture capital operating companies,” “real estate operating companies” or “under 25% funds” to avoid ERISA fiduciary and potential prohibited transaction concerns and advises clients on compliance with ERISA and Internal Revenue Code requirements when managing “plan assets”. Representative private equity fund representations include funds sponsored by:
- Apax Partners; Blackstone; Carlyle; CVC Capital Partners; Cypress; EQT; Evercore Capital Partners; First Reserve; Hellman & Friedman; J.E. Robert; Lexington Partners; Lightyear; Macquarie; Morgan Stanley; New Mountain Capital; Northwood Investors; Oaktree Capital Management; Palladium Equity Partners; Patria Investments Limited; Platinum Equity; Quadrangle; Ripplewood; and Silver Lake Partners.
Brian is consistently ranked by Chambers USA: America’s Leading Lawyers for Business as a leading individual in Employee Benefits & Executive Compensation in New York (Band 1), as well as nationwide, and has been recognized by The Legal 500 United States as a leading lawyer in the nation for Employee Benefits and Executive Compensation. In recent editions, Brian has been described by clients as a “very smart and very accomplished lawyer” and as a “tirelessly hard worker” who is “one of the cornerstones of the practice.”
Brian also serves as the Chairman of the Firm’s Pension Committee and is a member of the Firm’s Diversity Committee. Brian received his B.A. from Amherst College in 1985 and his J.D. from the Columbia University School of Law in 1988, where he was a Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar and an editor of the Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems.
- Columbia Law School, 1988 J.D.
- Harlan Fiske Stone Scholar; Columbia Journal of Law and Social Problems, Editor, 1987–1988
- Amherst College, 1985 B.A.
- American Bar Association
- New York State Bar Association
Admissions : New York 1989
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