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Meet Our 2013 Annual Dinner Co-Chairs

Tom Russo Photo (cropped)Thomas A. Russo
American International Group, Inc.

Thomas A. Russo is American International Group, Inc.’s (AIG) executive vice president, legal, compliance, regulatory affairs and government affairs, and general counsel.  He joined AIG in February 2010.

Russo is an industry leader who, in his 40-year career, has served as a lawyer, regulator, author, and academic.  He came to AIG from the New York office of Patton Boggs LLP, where he served as senior counsel.  He was chief legal officer of Lehman Brothers Holdings until December 2008. Before joining Lehman in 1993, Russo was a partner at the Wall Street law firm of Cadwalader, Wickersham & Taft LLP and a member of its Management Committee.

Russo has significant experience in Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) enforcement and broker-dealer operations, and worked for the SEC as an attorney in its Division of Trading and Markets.  He was an advisor to the Brady Commission as well as deputy general counsel of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (CFTC) and the first director of its Division of Trading and Markets.

He has authored more than 70 articles related to financial market regulation and has been recognized as one of the “100 Most Influential Lawyers in America.”  In 2011, Russo was recognized as a “Legend in Law” by the Burton Awards for Legal Achievement and in 2012, he received the “Humanitarian Award” from the Institute of International Education and the St. Thomas More Award from the Inner-City Scholarship Fund.  Russo co-wrote “The 2008 Financial Crisis and its Aftermath: Addressing the Next Debt Challenge,” which was published by the Group of Thirty in 2011.  He also authored the “Regulation of the Commodities Futures and Options Markets,” a two-volume treatise on federal commodities laws, and co-authored the federal securities law treatise “Regulation of Brokers, Dealers and Securities Markets.”

Russo is an adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Graduate School of Business, where he taught a course on the 2008 financial crisis.


Tom Sabatino Photo (cropped)Thomas J. Sabatino, Jr.
Walgreen Co.

Thomas J. Sabatino, Jr. is executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for Walgreen Co., based in Deerfield, Ill.

Sabatino joined Walgreens in September 2011 after holding general counsel roles with United Airlines, Inc., Schering-Plough Corporation, Baxter International Inc., and American Medical International, Inc.

After beginning his career with a law firm and then moving into corporate law, Sabatino was named president and CEO in 1990 of privately-held medical products manufacturer and distributor Secure Medical, Inc., of Mundelein, Ill.  In 1992, he joined American Medical International, a Dallas-based for-profit hospital chain with 40 acute-care hospitals.  Three years later he joined Baxter International and was named senior vice president and general counsel for the company in 1997.

Sabatino moved to Schering-Plough in 2004 as executive vice president and general counsel for global law and public affairs.

In March 2010, he was appointed general counsel of United Airlines and immediately took a leading role in its merger negotiations with Continental Airlines, Inc. Sabatino left United Continental Holdings, Inc. in 2011 after completion of the merger.

Sabatino earned a Bachelor of Arts degree from Wesleyan University in Middletown, Conn., in 1980 and his law degree from the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia in 1983.

He is a member of the bar in Massachusetts, Illinois and California. He serves on the board of directors of Alliance Boots, GmbH;  the board of directors of the Association of Corporate Counsel as it’s Chair; the advisory board of Corporate Pro Bono; and the board of directors of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution.


Wayne Watts Photo (cropped)Wayne Watts
AT&T Inc.

Wayne Watts, senior executive vice president and general counsel, is responsible for all legal matters at AT&T Inc. He was appointed to his current position in June 2007.

Prior to his current appointment, Watts served as vice president and associate general counsel for AT&T, with legal responsibility for mergers and acquisitions, wireless operations, international operations, strategic planning, U-verse strategy and general corporate matters.

Previously, he served as vice president and assistant general counsel for SBC Communications Inc., with responsibility for a variety of general corporate and subsidiary legal matters, including SBC’s mergers and acquisitions and wireless operations.

Watts joined Southwestern Bell Telephone Company in 1983 as an attorney in Dallas. In 1986, he became general attorney for Southwestern Bell Publications in St. Louis, and two years later he joined the mergers and acquisitions staff of SBC’s legal department in St. Louis.

In 1989, Watts was named vice president-general attorney and secretary for Southwestern Bell Mobile Systems in Dallas. He became general attorney and assistant general counsel for SBC Communications Inc. in 1995 and served as legal counsel for SBC’s mergers and acquisitions and wireless operations.  Throughout his tenure, Watts helped lead a series of mergers and acquisitions, valued at a total of more than $200 billion, that transformed SBC from the smallest of the Baby Bells to the largest communications holding company in the world.

Watts is a member of the Texas Access to Justice Commission, which strives to expand civil legal aid resources to low-income Texans. He is a member of the advisory boards of the SMU Dedman School of Law and the Salvation Army’s Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex Command, and the Development Board at the University of Texas at Arlington.

Born in Abilene, Texas, Watts grew up and completed his high school education in Dallas. He graduated from the University of Texas at Arlington with a bachelor’s degree in business administration in 1976. He received his Juris Doctorate in 1980 from Southern Methodist University in Dallas.