NEW JERSEY: The MWW Group has willingly put itself in the middle of a statewide political melee by bringing aboard a controversial aide from the office of Gov. James McGreevey (D-NJ).
When Golan Cipel, 33, was hired as McGreevey's top homeland security advisor in January, questions immediately arose regarding his qualifications for the job. Despite the governor's insistence that he was a wise hire, Cipel quickly relieved himself of the position. It was eventually revealed that he was unable to pass the necessary security clearance for such a high-level and sensitive appointment.
Despite his stepping down, Cipel remained on the state's payroll, taking home a salary of $110,000 a year. The press continued to raise questions about what role he was filling, but McGreevey never gave a definite response, saying only that he was serving as "special counsel."
The press did not relent, and Cipel announced his resignation in mid-August. By the end of the month, MWW had announced his coming aboard as VP of public affairs.
"The fact is that Golan is an extraordinary talent who has a strong background in public policy, and will be a significant addition to our public affairs practice," said CEO Michael Kempner.
MWW lost the head of its Israel practice, Ron Torossian, in early August, which sparked the search for a replacement. Kempner says that his employees had met Cipel through their regular contact with the governor's office, and considered him a natural fit for the job.
Contrary to what has been reported, Cipel is not going to MWW strictly to lead its Israel practice, though that will be one of his responsibilities.
He will also handle a number of public affairs duties.
Following Cipel's hiring, MWW itself was put under the media spotlight in New Jersey. Kempner brushed aside the controversy, however, saying, "This has been a very positive experience for MWW. The fact is that this is mostly a situation of 'Just spell our name right.'"