|VOL. 22, NO. 15||FEBRUARY 21, 1997|
Teledyne Exec Is General Counsel
By Fred Knubel
lizabeth J. Keefer, former general counsel of Teledyne Inc., has been appointed Columbia's general counsel, it was announced this week.
During 20 years as a lawyer, Keefer has been deputy undersecretary of the U.S. Air Force, a senior official in the office of the Legal Adviser at the U.S. State Department, a partner in the law firm of Hughes Hubbard & Reed and general counsel to a major U.S. corporation. She has conducted negotiations with foreign governments on a wide range of issues, including water rights in the Middle East, compensation for the deaths of American sailors in an Iraqi missile attack and claims by Jewish families for property in Germany. At Teledyne, she directed the legal affairs of 18 technology-based manufacturing companies.
Keefer, a graduate of Barnard, will be Columbia's chief legal officer, responsible for management of all legal matters, assisted by a staff of nine lawyers and outside counsel. Her appointment was made by the University Trustees and announced by President George Rupp. She will take up her duties in April, succeeding Elizabeth Head, who stepped down as general counsel Jan. 31 after nearly eight years in the post.
"Elizabeth Keefer has excellent judgment and broad legal experience in international affairs, government policy and corporate opportunity - areas in which we have considerable responsibility and commitment," said Rupp. "She returns to a Columbia whose standing as a premier international university continues to strengthen, as do its ties to New York City, and whose research discoveries in health care and other sciences are increasingly being brought to public benefit through licensing. She will help carry us forward vigorously."
Keefer, 48, said she was fascinated by the unique combination of public policy, educational and economic issues that challenge Columbia. "I am especially excited to be a part of Columbia's rich academic and research culture located in one of the most interesting cities in the world. The work and environment will be wonderfully stimulating," she said.
A 1971 cum laude graduate of Barnard, Keefer earned her law degree with honors from George Washington University in 1977 and spent her first five years in Washington initially as a trial attorney for the Federal Trade Commission and then an associate in the law firm of Bergson, Borkland, Margolis & Adler.
With experience in U.S. and international antitrust and trade matters, she joined the State Department's Office of the Legal Adviser in 1982 as an attorney adviser, representing the United States in claims arbitration with Iran in the Hague. During her seven years at State, she served as the lawyer responsible for drafting and shepherding foreign assistance legislation through Congress, as executive assistant to the Legal Adviser responsible for the management of legal work of the office, and as Assistant Legal Adviser for Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs.
Among her activities, she helped achieve a settlement with the government of Iraq in 1988 for the families of American sailors who died in a missile attack on the USS Stark; and was part of a team sent to the Middle East to mediate the resolution of an ongoing dispute among Israel, Jordan and Syria over water and access rights to the Yarmouk River. She also headed a State Department task force to assist in and provide information to legislative and prosecutorial bodies investigating the Iran Contra affair.
Keefer served the United States Air Force from 1989 to 1992 as Deputy Under Secretary for International Affairs, overseeing its international assistance and training functions. Her principal responsibility was to reorganize and coordinate the widely dispersed international activities of the Air Force, which she completed in 1992.
She left government in 1992 to become a partner in the international law firm of Hughes Hubbard & Reed. Her practice in litigation, international law and government affairs included government contracting and regulatory matters and representing individuals seeking restitution of properties in Germany and the Czech Republic confiscated by the Nazi regime.
Teledyne recruited her in early 1995 to be deputy general counsel and to succeed its general counsel when she retired in April of last year. Keefer managed all corporate legal affairs of the $2.6 billion corporation, which included corporate governance, legislative initiatives, risk management, litigation, government regulatory matters and acquisitions and divestitures, including a merger completed last August with Allegheny Ludlum Corp., which created Allegheny Teledyne Inc.