A. Verona Dorch
| Peabody Energy
Executive vice president, chief legal officer, government affairs and corporate secretary
A. Verona Dorch, executive vice president, chief legal officer, government affairs and corporate secretary, is a recognised leader in the American in-house legal community and the leader of the legal department at Peabody Energy and its subsidiaries. A Fortune 500 company with over $5bn in revenue, Peabody Energy is the world’s largest private sector coal company and a global leader in clean coal energy, with operations across six continents. Dorch is an executive that is highly skilled in corporate governance, international, federal, state and local government relations, litigation, business development, and commercial activities. She is an integral member of the company’s executive leadership team and a visible, strategic and respected leader. In her current role, she serve as a strategic business partner to the executive and business teams and as a global leader of several functions including the legal, government relations, compliance, and data privacy functions. Dorch led the company through its recent convergence process, where it reduced its number of US law firms from 100+ to 13 and a 10%+ reduction in law firm spend. In this process she built into the RFP a true request for diversity and inclusion, which is reflected in the end convergence product by the fact that 40% of the lead partners at the relationship firms are women or minorities, and a significant portion of the partners and associates working on projects are truly diverse, supported by diversity data submitted monthly by the law firms. She also guided the company out of bankruptcy between 2016 and 2017, successfully resolving consolidated net tangible assets (CNTA) dispute at the heart of the company’s emergence from bankruptcy, a significant contractual disagreement involving an amount in dispute of over $1bn regarding the extent of the security interest granted in connection with Peabody’s first-lien credit agreement, pursuant to which Peabody alleged that its first-lien lenders were vastly under secured. The resolution of this matter was necessary for emergence and the parties participated in non-binding mediation, which was subsequently expanded to cover reorganisation plan negotiations as a whole. Dorch lead a strategic litigation and dispute resolution critical to the organisation’s ability to mine and ability to permit, including Multi-Employer Plan litigation which required successful negotiation and approval by the US Attorney’s Office of the US Government. Dorch developed key policies in relation to the Clean Power Plan and its related endangerment finding, including lobbying and commenting (via the public record) efforts in support of replacement of the current version of the Clean Power Plan and support of renegotiation of the Paris Agreement to reflect technology-based efforts to lower greenhouse gas emissions. She led successful constitutional law arguments against the Clean Power Plan, leading to a rarely won stay at the US Supreme Court level and a remand (and further stay) at the DC District Court level.