- Damien Atkins led Hershey’s legal department before joining WilmerHale in May
- At Aura, Atkins said he will pay close attention to consumer privacy issues
(Reuters) – After a brief stint at Wilmer Cutler Pickering Hale and Dorr, onetime Hershey Co general counsel Damien Atkins has joined digital security company Aura as chief legal officer and general counsel.
Atkins left the top legal job at Hershey in January, citing a family illness, and joined Wilmer as senior counsel in May. He said Thursday that he was drawn back to an in-house leadership role at Aura by the opportunity to work in the online consumer internet space, which has been a longtime interest.
At Aura, Atkins will lead a team of about 10 legal professionals to oversee the company’s legal and regulatory affairs. He added that he’ll be looking to expand the legal department “significantly in the near term.” Aura, based in Burlington, Massachusetts, offers services such as online identity theft and financial fraud protection.
As a general counsel in the digital security sector, Atkins said consumer privacy regulation will be his biggest focus. He called privacy issues “mission critical both from a strategic enterprise level perspective but definitely from a legal perspective” as the regulatory landscape continues to evolve.
Prior to joining Hershey in 2018, Atkins served as general counsel and corporate secretary for the Panasonic Corporation of North America. He earlier spent a decade at AOL, rising to senior vice president, deputy general counsel and chief compliance officer before he left that company in 2015.
“Aura is entering its next phase of growth, which brings a new set of complex legal and regulatory challenges,” CEO Hari Ravichandran said in a statement on Atkins’ hire.
According to a September study by LinkedIn, U.S. businesses are adding chief legal officers to their C-suites at a rapid-fire rate, with CLO hires increasing by 53% since September 2020.
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