By  on September 2, 2011

Stephen Neal, chairman of the law firm Cooley LLP, has been appointed chairman of Levi Strauss & Co.
Neal, a Levi’s director since 2007, succeeds Richard Kauffman, who has been named a senior adviser to Steven Chu, U.S. Secretary of Energy. Kauffman had served on the board since 2008 and as its chairman since last year.

The appointment Friday comes just one day after Charles “Chip” Bergh succeeded John Anderson as chief executive officer of the San Francisco-based jeans and sportswear giant.

Kauffman, a former Goldman Sachs executive who earlier in his career was ceo of renewable energy investment firm Good Energies, said, “Though I am leaving during an exciting time of growth and expansion, the opportunity to fulfill a lifelong dream of doing public sector work that combines my career expertise in renewable energy and finance is something I could not pass up.”

Robert Haas, Levi’s chairman emeritus, called Neal “a highly respected executive and boardroom veteran. We are confident his oversight will continue to drive growth and performance at the company.”

Neal, an expert on corporate governance who’s represented companies on a wide range of corporate issues, is the former ceo of Cooley and earlier in his career was a partner at Kirkland & Ellis. He earned $204,000 in fees, stock awards and other compensation from Levi’s in 2010, according to the firm’s annual report. His law firm provided about $200,000 in legal services to Levi’s last year.

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