Security Firm That Absorbed Blackwater Elevates Big Law Veteran

A risk management company that includes the private security contractor once known as Blackwater among its holdings has promoted a former McGuireWoods partner to chief legal and compliance officer.

Melissa Taylormoore, who has been with Constellis Holdings LLC since 2015, succeeds former legal chief and corporate secretary Gearoid “Gary” Moore, the Herndon, Va.-based company said in a statement.

Constellis is the parent of Triple Canopy Inc., a private security company that in 2014 acquired Academi LLC, a military contractor previously known as Blackwater. Constellis has reportedly watched its business shrink in recent years as the U.S. government reduced its military commitments overseas.

“We could not ask for a more dedicated and experienced person to lead our company’s legal and compliance matters,” Constellis Chief Executive Officer Terry Ryan said of Taylormoore in a Feb. 16 statement.

Ryan, a former U.S. Marine Corps infantry commander and intelligence officer, took over the top leadership job at Constellis last year.

Taylormoore, who most recently was deputy chief legal officer for Constellis, is a former labor and employment litigation partner at McGuireWoods.

McGuireWoods has had a longtime relationship with the company and its various affiliates. Constellis has turned to McGuireWoods to handle roughly 20% of its U.S. federal court cases within the past five years, according to Bloomberg Law data.

Blackwater Iraq

McGuireWoods helped Blackwater escape wrongful death litigation related to casualties in Iraq, and it represented a logistics contractor that escorted four former Blackwater guards ambushed and killed in 2004 by militants in Fallujah.

During her time in private practice, Taylormoore specialized in representing government contractors like Booz Allen Hamilton Inc. and Triple Canopy, according to Bloomberg Law data. Constellis said she also conducted internal investigations and advised clients on government contracts law.

In her new role, Taylormoore will oversee all legal and compliance matters, including litigation, environmental, health and safety, contracts, corporate governance, and ethics and internal audit functions, Constellis said.

Taylormoore said in an email that Moore, her predecessor in the top legal position and a “long-term fixture” at Constellis, left for a new position.

“He remains available to the organization if and when necessary to the extent any additional transition assistance is needed,” she said. “I know he will be missed, but we are excited for him and his next opportunity.”

Triple Canopy

Moore had been with Constellis since it was Triple Canopy, which hired him as its general counsel in 2012. An auto-response message from Moore’s Constellis email account said he left the company Feb. 11.

His LinkedIn profile shows that Moore is now the top lawyer for EmployBridge LLC, an Atlanta-based industrial staffing company acquired last year by Apollo Global Management Inc. Moore didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Apollo took control of Constellis in 2016 but four years later moved to restructure more than $1 billion in debt related to that deal. Apollo remains an equity investor in Constellis but as of March 2020 no longer has a controlling interest in the company, Taylormoore said.

Constellis-owned Triple Canopy provides protective services to some U.S. states. The company also operates in hot spots around the world and has been battling the U.S. government in court over the reimbursement of fees that Triple Canopy incurred while doing business in Afghanistan.

Taylormoore, when asked whether Constellis has a presence in Ukraine, where Western leaders are seeking to avoid a war with Russia, said the company “has no operations generally, or training programs specifically” in the former Soviet republic.