Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Richardson Joins Consulting Group

Former Gov. Bill Richardson has been hired APCO Worldwide to be chairman of the company's executive advisory service, Global Political Strategies.

"The idea behind GPS is to provide counsel to companies and institutions at the highest levels as they globalize their activities. We are very excited to have Gov. Richardson assume the chairmanship of this group of former senior government officials from around the world," said APCO's founder and CEO Margery Kraus in a Wednesday news release.

"Gov. Richardson has a unique combination of local, state, congressional, executive branch and foreign policy experience gained through high-level diplomatic and political posts held throughout his career," Kraus' statement said. "Given his strong leadership qualities, his extraordinary achievements in government and business and his global knowledge and experience, we know he's the right person to head this high-caliber group."

APCO has been involved in several controversies through the years. In 1993, APCO was behind the creation of "The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition," a Phillip-Morris funded group dedicated to discredit federal studies showing the dangers of second-hand smoke.

APCO also was the public-releations firm involved in an alleged health insurance industry plan to discredit filmaker Michael Moore and his movie Sicko.

One client of interest is the World Wrestling Entertainment. From the company's website:

WWE approached APCO Worldwide to help improve public perceptions and present a positive, responsible image to appeal to politicians, the media, parents, advertisers and the wider community. WWE is a responsible programmer and civic-minded corporation, but it was having difficulty communicating these attributes to the right audiences.

WWE CEO Linda McMahan said:

"APCO has helped us build relationships with various constituencies important to our business, from educators to elected officials. The campaigns APCO developed for us added tangible value to our business and helped us use our immense popularity to encourage young people to become more engaged in their communities and in other positive endeavors."

And if that fails, you can always hit the referee in the back of the head with a metal chair.