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Thursday, Jun 20, 2024

Edwards’ Linda Park: Moving Up, Giving Back

M&A expert aids local firms, nonprofits

During her four years as assistant general counsel at Western Digital Corp. (Nasdaq: WDC), Linda Park helped oversee the firm’s $19 billion acquisition of competitor SanDisk in 2016, and helped grow annual revenue at the memory products giant from $12.5 billion in 2013 to more than $19 billion by the time she left the firm in 2017.

Today, as senior vice president, associate general counsel and corporate secretary at Irvine’s Edwards Lifesciences Corp. (NYSE: EW), Park continues to drive decisions at Orange County’s largest medical device maker and OC’s most valuable public company, one with a market valuation of $47 billion as of last week.

“Grounded in both Western Digital and in Edwards is innovation,” she said. “You have to always think about a creative solution or a different way to do things in order to be relevant and at the forefront.”

Expect more innovation in the future for Park, whose work extends to the area’s nonprofits, other company boards, sports organizations, and a variety of social and environmental initiatives.

Park was honored with the Rising Star Award at the Business Journal’s General Counsel Awards on Nov. 10 at the Irvine Marriott.

Patient Care

Park began her legal career in private practice, after earning an undergraduate degree from Johns Hopkins University, and a law degree from Duke University School of Law.

She specialized in securities, capital markets and corporate governance in New York City at Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher LLP and Latham & Watkins LLP.

In 2013, she transitioned to her first in-house counsel position at Western Digital, which was previously headquartered in Irvine and still has a large base in the city.

“I wanted to have an active part in policy change,” Park said.

That’s evident still in her role at Edwards, where she joined in 2017. Park is responsible for M&A contracts, potential acquisitions, strategy processes, and contracts with other stakeholders, healthcare professionals, and service providers.

Her day-to-day goal is much more simplified.

“In the law department we talk about, ‘How do we make things better for patients?’” she said, “How do we, as an organization, support the business in a way that we, in fact, are doing what is best for patients and moving the business forward?”

Under her leadership, Edwards has completed several high-profile transactions integral to the growth of the company. In the second quarter of 2018, she oversaw the $750 million renegotiation of Edwards and its subsidiaries’ existing credit facilities, and handled its renewal in 2022.

Foundation Work

Park serves on the board of directors for the company’s not-for-profit Edwards
Lifesciences Foundation, which sets up philanthropic initiatives designed to treat underserved people to reduce heart valve disease, and strengthen the communities where Edwards Lifesciences employees live and work, among other efforts.

Additionally, she is a co-sponsor of the Irvine chapter of Edwards Network of Women, where she helps over 700 women in different facets of their life.

“It’s amazing how many people we touch in this organization,” Park said.

She recently expanded her role at Edwards Lifesciences to serve on a sustainability council to address Environmental Social Governance challenges within the company.

Community Platform

Outside of Edwards, Park uses her career “as a platform to be able to help other people in the ways that I know how to and can contribute.”

Park is a part of the strategic business council for local nonprofit USA Water Polo where she creates a networking program that supports Olympic water polo players’ aspirations after their athletic career.

She has also been instrumental in securing approvals to build the 2028 Olympic Water Polo Facility at the Great Park in Irvine.

“National team players for USA Water Polo are going to be practicing here in our backyard,” she said.

Park also contributed to raising $1.5 million at the end of October to promote initiatives for local nonprofit CureDuchenne, which aims to find a cure to Duchenne, a severe form of muscular dystrophy. She serves on the nonprofit’s events committee.

This month saw another addition to her work outside Edwards: BioLargo Inc. (OTC: BLGO), a developer of sustainable cleantech technologies and full-service environmental engineering company, and the most valuable public company based in the city of Westminster, added Park to its board.

Park “is a trusted executive and legal professional with a proven track record of supporting and advising public companies,” BioLargo said in announcing her appointment. The cleantech firm also noted that she is “an active partner and thought leader on environmental, social, and corporate governance issues.”

“In my mind, I can only think, this is just the beginning,” Park said. “I am looking forward to making a greater impact and continuing to be a leader.”

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