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Overseas Joint Ventures: Opportunities, Risks, and Potential Pitfalls

Speaker(s): Francesca Harker, Michael Garson, Randall Cook, Ted Theisen
Recorded on: Aug. 9, 2017
PLI Program #: 223110

Francesca Harker is a Managing Director at Ankura Consulting Group and is based in Washington, DC. Ms. Harker has over 8 years of experience addressing a variety of client needs, including corporate investigations, review of internal controls and procedures, monitorships and receiverships.

Prior to joining Ankura, Ms. Harker was a Senior Associate at BakerHostetler, LLC where she worked on a variety of fraud investigations including financial reporting investigations and enforcement actions by the Securities and Exchange Commission, criminal investigations by the Department of Justice and Federal Bureau of Investigations, and market regulation misconduct arbitrations by FINRA. Ms. Harker routinely advised corporate boards and their executives on complex litigation decisions and implementing comprehensive compliance, whistleblower and anti- corruption policies. Ms. Harker also has extensive experience conducting internal investigations relating to the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act and assisting with voluntary self-disclosure where appropriate. Ms. Harker also focuses her practice on government monitorships and receiverships.

Ms. Harker’s professional experience includes:

  • Internal Investigation – Investigated allegations of corrupt payments at a major international aerospace corporation and counseled the company on potential self-disclosure to relevant government agencies; implemented remedial measures and robust compliance program.
  • SEC Enforcement Action – Represented former Fortune 50 CFO in multiple state and federal lawsuits alleging accounting and securities fraud relating to multibillion-dollar restatement;
  • SEC Receivership – Led a multi-disciplinary team serving as counsel for court-appointed Receiver responsible for investigating, auditing, and recovering funds from $500 million Ponzi scheme;
  • SDNY Monitorship – Member of DOJ-appointed monitorship team tasked with assessing major international bank’s implementation of data privacy, government contracts, FCPA and other regulatory compliance policies;
  • Breach of Contract Claim – Second chair on jury trial for breach of contract and breach of fiduciary duty claims in which jury returned largest breach of contract award in New York City for that year.


JD, University of Michigan Law School

MSW, The Catholic University of America

BA, English and Psychology, Georgetown University


Admitted to the bars of New York, New Jersey and Washington, D.C.

Michael Garson is a Senior Managing Director at Ankura with more than 20 years of experience as an attorney in private practice, an in-house general counsel, and a C-suite operations and compliance executive. In those roles, he advised companies and enterprises of all sizes on US federal, state, and municipal procurements and grants and has specific expertise in defense and technology matters. He specializes in helping clients build and execute on market strategy, prepare winning bids and proposals, and design compliant and efficient business processes and systems. He is based in Washington, DC.

Prior to joining Ankura, Michael provided government contracting and business advisory services to a variety of companies through his own independent consulting firm. Before starting his own firm, he served in various capacities for LGS Innovations, a large US federal government contractor. Those roles included executive vice president and chief administrative officer, general counsel and secretary, chief compliance and ethics officer, and ITAR-empowered official as well as technology control officer. LGS, a technology and R&D company, is primarily focused on supporting the US defense and intelligence communities and, at the time of Michael’s departure, had over 1,000 employees and $300 million in annual revenue. Before that, Michael was a division counsel with Lucent Technologies, supporting its government solutions team, the main predecessor of LGS.


  • AB, Princeton University
  • JD, The George Washington University Law School


Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional


  • American Bar Association – Section of Public Contract Law
  • Society of Corporate Compliance and Ethics
  • Ethics and Compliance Initiative
  • International Association of Independent Private Sector Inspectors General, Member

Randall H. Cook is a Senior Managing Director at Ankura based in New York. He has more than 20 years of experience leading and advising organizations engaged with critical operational and compliance challenges; conducting complex investigations and audits; and designing and delivering high-performance, persistent risk mitigation solutions. Randy assists organizations to navigate complex risks arising from national  security  concerns  (including  the  Committee  on  Foreign Investments in the US (CFIUS) and US trade controls); government and regulatory investigations and audits; and public and fiscal integrity issues.

Prior to joining Ankura, Randy was Senior Counsel for two Fortune 50 aerospace technology companies, where he built and led global investigations and compliance programs focused on consistent, process- based risk analysis, engagement, and mitigation. These programs were a critical enabler for the companies’ successful navigation of consent agreements with the US Department of State.

Randy was also an Assistant United States Attorney in the federal district of New Jersey, where he prosecuted numerous complex crimes while serving as the Anti-Money Laundering District Coordinator for the Organized Crime and Drug Enforcement Task Force and as District Coordinator for Counterproliferation Initiatives. In addition to this, as an attorney for Covington & Burling LLP in Washington, DC, he provided counsel and advocated for clients confronting complex regulatory issues in multiple industries.


  • JD, Duke University School of Law
  • MA, International Relations, Duke University
  • BSFS, Georgetown University


SCCE Certified Compliance and Ethics Professional (CCEP)


  • American Bar Association Bar Admissions: CT, NJ, NY
  • Society for International Affairs
  • International Association of Independent Private Sector Inspectors General, Member

Ted Theisen is a Senior Managing Director within the Cybersecurity Practice at Ankura Consulting Group, located in the Washington, DC office. He has more than 17 years of experience in information technology including designing information security programs, responding to complicated cyber incidents, and enhancing information security. Mr. Theisen has significant investigative experience leading numerous highly technical and complicated cyber incidents requiring the direction of multi-discipline and multi-national collaboration resulting in efficient and effective results.

Prior to joining Ankura, Mr. Theisen served as a Managing Director at an international litigation support firm where he developed and built a cyber- risk division including services such as incident response, risk assessments, as well as managed security services. He was directly responsible for overseeing all data breach matters and ensured a rapid response, adequate preservation of evidence, and ultimately identified the root cause of all breaches, as well as any exfiltrated, compromised, or exposed intellectual property.

In addition to his contributions in the private sector, Mr. Theisen also has notable government service. He served as a Special Agent in the Federal Bureau of Investigation where he investigated cyber related matters for the duration of his tenure, which included computer intrusions, cyber counterintelligence, and cyber counterterrorism matters. Mr. Theisen also served as the Branch Chief of Cyber Integrity for one year at the Executive Office of the President where he provided information risk management, information assurance, and eDiscovery leadership to The White House, Executive Residence, Office of the Vice President, and all other peripheral entities of the White House.

Notable Investigations that Mr. Theisen has conducted:

  • Cyber Extortion of a Scientific Company – A global company was threatened by an unknown subject with releasing intellectual property to the public unless a ransom was paid. Mr. Theisen lead a team of investigators to identify exposed data within the company, potential exfiltration vectors, and vulnerabilities that fostered unauthorized access
  • Cyber Domestic Terrorism Investigation – A US based food company was threatened by a domestic terrorism organization over the Internet. Mr. Theisen lead the investigation to successful attribution to the attacker and subsequent arrest
  • Insider Threat Investigation of a Financial Institution – A US based financial institution suspected escalation of privileges by a system administrator. Mr. Theisen was able to lead a team to surreptitiously identify unauthorized activity of the main subject of the investigation with minimal interruption to business functionality
  • Data Breach of Health Care Facility – A large US based health care system suffered a breach of Protected Health Information (PHI). Mr. Theisen lead the team to identify exposed data as well as the vector of compromise.
  • Amerithrax Investigation – Mr. Theisen served on a large team of special agents that responded to the residence of Dr. Bruce Ivans, as well as his laboratory at United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Disease (USAMRIID) ensuring ample preservation of evidence in a volatile environment
  • Numerous Cyber Counterintelligence investigations in which the tradecraft and techniques of adversaries to the United States were identified
  • Several investigations associated with internet threats made to high ranking public officials in which rapid attribution of the attacker was necessary


New Agent Training, FBI Academy - Quantico, Virginia

BS, Biology, University of Nebraska at Omaha 


Certified Radiological Worker 2, US Department of Energy

FBI Hazardous Materials Response Team - investigated chemical, biological and radiological threats

MCSE and MCP+I Certified


Society of Former Special Agents of the FBI


US Attorney Award, District of Delaware - contributions to Internet Crimes Against Children, 2010

Dedicated service award for contributions to the Terrorist Screening Operations Unit (TSOU), 2008

Exemplary service award for achievements at National Joint Terrorism Task Force (NJTTF), 2006