Ken Cunningham has been named chief legal officer of Grant Thornton LLP.

Cunningham succeeds Peggy Zagel, who will retire from the firm at the end of July.

"We are pleased to have an individual of Ken's ability leading this critical function at the firm," said Grant Thornton CEO Stephen Chipman. "Ken is an outstanding legal thinker and an exceptional colleague, and we are confident that he will continue to be an enormous asset to Grant Thornton as the firm sets out on our bold five-year strategy for growth serving dynamic organizations around the globe."

Since joining the firm in 2004 as senior counsel in the Risk, Regulatory and Legal Affairs Group, Cunningham has led the regulatory defense practice, defended the firm and its personnel in class-action securities litigation and accounting malpractice litigation, and provided training and counsel to all service lines on risk and regulatory issues.

Prior to his tenure at Grant Thornton, he served as a Senior Counsel with the SEC's Division of Enforcement, and before that, he worked in the Litigation Department of the law firm Winston & Strawn LLP in Chicago. He has also served as an adjunct professor at Loyola University School of Law. He received a BA from Vanderbilt University, and a JD from the Vanderbilt University School of Law.

Peggy Zagel served as Grant Thornton's general counsel from 1984 to 1998, and was one of the first women to serve as general counsel of a major American company.

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