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NFLPI Names New President

NFL Players Inc. (NFLPI), the licensing and marketing arm of the NFL Players Association named Ahmad Nassar as the NFLPI’s new president, effective Monday, February 2, 2015.

Keith Gordon announced in August that after nearly six years as NFLPI president, he would be stepping down from the position following the 2015 Super Bowl in Arizona.

Nassar joined NFLPI in 2009, most recently serving as executive vice-president of business affairs and general counsel. Nassar has overseen the organization’s major legal and business initiatives, including negotiating with partners such as Electronic Arts, Nike, Panini, and ESPN. He also led negotiations on NFLPI’s landmark 10-year commercial agreement with the NFL.

Prior to joining the NFLPA, Nassar worked at law firms Patton Boggs and Latham & Watkins. There, he counseled clients in a variety of practice areas, including white-collar criminal defense, intellectual property issues, internal corporate investigations, antitrust issues, and a variety of matters affecting labor unions.

Walmart Promotes New COO, Executive Veep

Walmart has promoted Judith McKenna to chief operations officer (COO) for Walmart U.S. Gisel Ruiz, who was named executive vice-president of Walmart’s International People Division, previously held the position. Both changes are effective immediately.

McKenna will continue to report to Greg Foran, Walmart U.S president and CEO. In her new role she will be responsible for a team of 1.3 million associates and will continue to lead Walmart’s small format stores, development of new formats, expansion of Walmart services, and integration of digital commerce in U.S. retailer locations. She has been with the retailer nearly 20 years, joining as a member of Asda’s leadership team in the U.K. where she served as CFO and COO.

Ruiz will report to Walmart International president and CEO David Cheesewright, and will serve as a member of his leadership team and Walmart’s Global People leadership team. She will also be tasked with driving the retailer’s human resources strategy and priorities impacting more than one million associates across 26 countries. Ruiz joined Walmart as a management trainee and has worked in roles encompassing labor relations and operations and human resources.

Burns Elected to Hasbro BoD

Hasbro has named Michael Burns as an independent director to its board of directors. Burns currently serves as vice-chairman of Lionsgate. His appointment is effective immediately.

“Michael’s financial acumen and extensive operational experience in developing and distributing award-winning original content make him an excellent addition to Hasbro’s board of directors,” said Hasbro chairman Alfred J. Verrecchia. “We welcome him to the board and look forward to working with him as we execute our content-led branded play strategy and explore new opportunities to deliver content directly to consumers.”

Since joining Lionsgate in 2000, Burns has been instrumental in building the company into a multibillion dollar global content leader with a major presence in motion picture production and distribution, television programming and syndication, home entertainment, channel platforms, and digital distribution. During Mr. Burns’ tenure, Lionsgate evolved from a small independent studio into a diversified global corporation with a market capitalization of nearly $5 billion. Additionally, Mr. Burns has played a key role in the acquisition, production, and distribution of some of Lionsgate’s most successful films.

Prior to joining Lionsgate, Burns served for nine years as managing director and head of Prudential Securities’ Los Angeles investment banking office and specialized in raising equity within the media and entertainment industry. Before joining Prudential, he spent nine years at Shearson/American Express (now Morgan Stanley) in New York and Los Angeles. Burns has served on the board of directors of Lionsgate since 1999.