Don brings to the table more than 30 years of experience advising companies and executives on best practices in executive and board compensation. Working within the framework of tax, accounting, SEC reporting, and bank regulatory issues, Don helps guide his clients on how best to recruit, incentivize, and retain top talent as well as advise individual executives in their transition into and out of C-Suite positions.
Don is a partner in BFKN’s Compensation & Employment Group (having served as Chairman of the Group from 2004-2019), concentrating his practice in executive compensation and employee benefits.
Don represents entities, individuals, and compensation committees in all stages of the employment process, from negotiating and drafting employment arrangements to separation settlements. Don advises clients on the design and establishment of various types of compensation programs, such as cash and equity based incentive plans and related insider trading (Section 16) issues, employee stock purchase plans, phantom stock plans, retention plans, non-qualified deferred compensation plans and related rabbi and secular trusts, director compensation programs, and change-in-control and severance agreements and plans.
Management teams frequently reach out to Don to assist them when their employer is being sold in private equity transactions to help ensure they are represented fairly in the proposed transaction and to help negotiate the terms of new agreements and incentives going forward.
Don has extensive experience providing guidance with CEO succession planning. In advising employers on compensation related matters, Don’s practice also includes protecting company interests with confidentiality and non-competition arrangements and other restrictive covenants.
Don serves on BFKN’s Finance and Benefits Committees. He is a frequent speaker on issues of director and executive compensation with a focus on the financial services industry.
- State of Illinois
- University of Kansas School of Law, J.D., 1986
- University of Illinois - Urbana, B.A., Dean's List, 1983
Mergers & Acquisitions
- Represented Moët Hennessy, a division of LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE, in its partnership with Shawn Jay-Z Carter, pursuant to which Moët Hennessy acquired a 50% stake in the Champagne brand, Armand de Brignac, previously wholly-owned by Jay-Z.
- Represented senior management team of PRA Events, Inc. (f/k/a Allied America, Inc) in the sale of the company by CI Capital Investors to EagleTree Capital.
- Represented Chief Executive Officer of First Choice Dental Group in the recapitalization of the company by the Beekman Group.
- Represented senior management team of Citadel Defense Company in the sale of the company to Arlington Capital Partners and Halo, LLC.
- Represented senior management team of Foundation Partners Group in the recapitalization of the company by Access Holdings, LLC and Coller Capital, Inc.
- Represented senior management team of Ascensus Specialties, LLC in the sale of the company by New Mountain Capital to Wind Point Partners.
- Represented senior management team of S&S Activewear, LLC in the sale of the company to Clayton, Dubilier & Rice, LLC.
- Represented senior management team of Holly Hunt Enterprises, Inc. in the sale of the company to Knoll, Inc.
- Represented the incoming chief executive officer of a publicly traded energy company in the negotiation of the officer’s terms and conditions of employment.
- Represented chief executive officer of newly formed multi-billion-dollar online gaming platform.
- Represented director of nationally recognized modern arts museum.
- Represented leading luxury goods companies with respect to hire and retention of senior executives.
- Represented multiple financial institutions with respect to executive compensation matters in connection with mergers and acquisitions.
- Represented public and private financial institutions with respect to executive compensation and equity compensation matters.
- Represented financial institutions with respect to “golden parachute” restrictions resulting from “troubled condition” designation under 12 CFR part 359.
- Represented financial institution with respect to “white knight” (and other) applications necessary to attract and retain qualified executives while subject to “troubled condition” designation under 12 CFR part 359.
- The Best Lawyers in America© (2017-2023)
- Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law
- Illinois Super Lawyers (2013-2015, 2019-2023)
- Member, American Bar Association, Tax Section, Executive Compensation Subcommittee
- Member, National Association of Stock Plan Professionals