Public Affairs: Zetter joins Burrell at APCO

Agency looks to reclaim a place among the 'top three' with hire of prolific lobbyist.

Apco has signed up lobbying heavyweight Lionel Zetter to help reassert its credentials as one of the UK's leading public affairs consultancies.

The global agency has appointed Zetter to the role of senior counsellor, starting next month. Based in London, he will focus on the UK public affairs market.

In the new role, he will be joining forces with the experienced and highly regarded ex-Edelman and Westminster Strategy lobbyist Michael Burrell, who joined Apco in September as vice-chairman of public affairs for Europe.

Known as one of the industry's most prolific networkers, Zetter currently works as an independent consultant. He is a former deputy chairman of Dods Parliamentary Communications and has served as president of the CIPR and chairman of the CIPR's Government Affairs Group.

Zetter is also the author of Lobbying: The Art of Political Persuasion, described by one political blogger as 'the default British guide to how lobbying works'.

Apco was widely regarded as one of the UK's leading lobbying consultancies in the 1990s and early noughties, but has seen its profile dip in recent years.

One source said Zetter's capture reflected the agency's desire to reclaim its position as one of the UK's 'top three' public affairs firms.

Commenting on his new role, Zetter said: 'Apco is a great agency with a strong brand. A large part of the attraction of the move for me, however, is the chance to work with Michael, who truly is one of the doyens of the industry.'

Burrell said: 'Lionel's arrival at APCO will be a hugely important step forward for us ... We have a formidably talented and enthusiastic young team in public affairs. By contrast, Lionel and I have both been around the block. Our goal is to marry the best of all these elements to create the dream team in UK public affairs.'

The two appointments at Apco follow the recent departures of Darren Murphy, head of the agency's global services to government division, and deputy UK managing director Razi Rahman. The pair, who both worked for Tony Blair in Downing Street, are setting up a political comms agency called Centreground Political Communications.

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