Michael Roster, Stanford's general counsel for more than six years, will leave in February to join Golden West Financial Corp. as executive vice president and general counsel.
President Gerhard Casper has appointed Debra Zumwalt, the managing partner of Pillsbury Madison and Sutro's Silicon Valley office, as acting general counsel.
Roster came to Stanford in 1993 and has led Stanford's legal office during a period of unprecedented growth and challenges for the university. He oversaw a number of high-profile legal issues during his tenure, including the resolution of the indirect costs dispute and various transactions involving the Stanford Medical Center.
In 1994, Roster restructured the General Counsel's office by engaging three outside legal firms to meet the university's legal needs. The new system was designed to broaden expertise and provide flexibility while cutting total costs.
"My six and a half years as general counsel have been terrific," Roster said. "I am extremely appreciative of President Casper's trust and confidence in me and our close working relationship. I am also fortunate to have worked with a fine group of attorneys and staff who have been -- and will continue to be -- the heart of the Stanford legal office."
In his new role, Roster will oversee the legal department as well as the accounting, tax, human resources and other units. Golden West operates World Savings and the Atlas group of mutual funds. It has assets of more than $40 billion and 6,000 employees nationwide.
Roster also will continue in his role as vice chair of the American Corporate Counsel Association and as an outside board member of TransIlluminant Corp.
"This is a particularly important time for financial services companies," Roster said. "I look forward to combining my expertise in banking law with the additional knowledge and skills I have been able to develop here at Stanford."
In her role as managing partner for Pillsbury in Palo Alto, Zumwalt oversees 65 lawyers. She is president-elect of the Santa Clara County Bar Association and a founding trustee for the Silicon Valley Campaign for Legal Services, which raises money for legal services for the poor.
Zumwalt, who will begin her duties on Feb. 1, is an alumna of Stanford Law School and has worked on Stanford legal issues for more than 12 years, first as an attorney in the general counsel's office and then as part of her private practice. She will remain a partner at Pillsbury.
"I am very excited about the opportunity to serve this institution in my new role," Zumwalt said. "Stanford is facing many legal challenges and opportunities and I am pleased that I can be a part of the team that will continue to move Stanford's mission forward."
Roster said that he will work closely with Zumwalt during a period of transition.
"Debra is uniquely suited to
continue the leadership of the office," he said. "She has an
extensive knowledge of Stanford from her in-house days and then as
a key representative of our outside law firm partners."