The Hershey Co. has named Damien Atkins as its new senior v.p., general counsel and secretary, effective Aug. 13. 
Atkins will lead Hershey’s legal, government relations and corporate secretary functions, working directly for Michele Buck, Hershey’s ceo. He will also have a seat on the company’s Executive Committee.
Atkins gained 20 years of legal experience working as general counsel and corporate secretary for Panasonic Corp. North America and deputy general counsel and corporate and chief compliance officer for AOL. During his tenure with these companies, Atkins worked on a variety of legal matters, including mergers and antitrust investigations. In addition to redesigning Panasonic NA’s global compliance program, he spearheaded the legal team involved in Panasonic’s $1-billion acquisition of the Hussmann Corporation in 2016. 
Atkins also serves on the board of directors for several other organizations, such as the Minority Corporate Counsel Association, Habitat for Humanity, Rutgers Law School Center for Corporate Law and Governance and as the vice-chair for the Institute for Ethical Leadership at Rutgers Business School. The New Jersey Business Journal recognized Atkins as the General Counsel of the Year in 2016 and Diverse Attorney of the Year in 2015. The Metropolitan Black Bar Association named him Corporate Counsel of the Year in 2017. 
“I am excited to join a company with such iconic brands and a deep sense of purpose and social responsibility embedded in its commercial operations,” Atkins said. “Hershey has a strong leadership team and is on an exciting journey to grow its business as a snacking powerhouse. I look forward to playing a role in supporting that growth story and being part of Hershey’s long-term success.”