Jon Johnson, president and chief executive of the world’s largest
public affairs agency, Government Policy Consultants (GPC)
International, has resigned.
Johnson founded GPC in Canada in 1986. Today the agency is Canada’s
The group has 11 offices in Brussels, the UK and Canada, including one
of the largest lobbying operations in London. It employs 300 staff,
around 170 of them in Canada, and has a turnover of pounds 20
Johnson cashed in his chips with Omnicom last year when the marketing
services giant bought a majority stake of the Canadian operation, GPC
International and merged the company with its lobbying operations in
Brussels and London and Edinburgh.
Following the sale of his shares in the company, Johnson has decided to
move, but has not announced his future plans. He will leave in
Johnson oversaw the controversial merger between GPC in London and Prima
Europe, in January. It was as a director of Prima Europe that Derek
Draper, one of the lobbyists involved in the ’cash for access’ case,
Johnson will be replaced by GPC Canada chairman Hershell Ezrin. Ezrin
joined the company in January from his post as chief executive of
Canadian automotive repair giant Speedy, the largest company of its kind
in Europe and North America.
From 1988 to 1992 Ezrin was senior vice president of corporate affairs
at conglomerate the Molson Company. Between 1985 and 1988 he was deputy
minister to the-then premier of Ontario, David Peterson. Ontario is the
largest of Canada’s ten provinces, and serves a third of Canada’s
Like Johnson, Ezrin will report to John Graham, chief executive of
Communications Consulting Worldwide, a division of Omnicom which also
includes Fleishman-Hillard and Porter Novelli International.
Graham said: ’Johnson wants to do something else. Both the Canadian and
European operations were doing well and he had established as Hershell
as a successor, so neither I nor Omnicom had any objections to him