International Game Technology PLC (IGT) announced that Christopher Spears is joining the company to lead its legal team. As senior vice president and general counsel, Spears will be responsible for overseeing all legal and corporate governance matters for the company, and will report to Alberto Fornaro, executive vice president and chief financial officer.

Spears will replace Neil Abrams, who is retiring from the company effective Dec. 31, and who has transitioned to the role of senior advisor to the CFO until his retirement. 

"As IGT faces significant opportunities in our rapidly evolving industry, Chris Spears' skills and depth of experience with an international Fortune 500 company will foster strong partnerships with IGT's leadership, and ensure that we responsibly meet our growth objectives," said Fornaror. "Neil Abrams has been a valued member of the senior executive team at IGT. He played a key role in supporting the company through critical activities during and after the merger completion. We thank him for his service, and wish him well in this new chapter of his life."

Spears has 19 years of experience in positions of increasing scope and responsibility with Caterpillar Inc. Most recently, he was group general counsel – commercial and international operations where he led a large, international team of legal professionals responsible for providing comprehensive legal support to Caterpillar business units around the globe. Prior to that, he held several positions, including chief ethics and compliance officer; deputy general counsel; associate general counsel – securities, tax and regulatory; and, while based in Singapore, general counsel – Asia-Pacific. Before joining Caterpillar, he was an associate attorney in the corporate and securities practice group with Greenebaum Doll & McDonald PLLC.

Spears has juris doctor and master of business administration degrees from the University of Kentucky, and a bachelor of science degree in business administration from Berea College in Kentucky.