WASHINGTON: Jim Courtovich, Ketchum's VP/group manager of public affairs, has left the agency world behind for a position with Republican ad shop National Media, which is eagerly transforming itself into a one-stop shop for all manner of strategic campaigns, be they political or corporate.Courtovich, who will head the shop's nascent public affairs capability, said he left Ketchum for the opportunity to be part of the "new breed" of strategy-centered shops in Washington, DC. "We don't have corporate offices in New York; we don't have 30 people in human resources. We have what the client needs: senior people who know the process and can put together a smart campaign that can be executed quickly and give someone measurable results,
National Media, well known for creating the so-called "RATS
ad for the Republican National Committee in 2000, was started by Lee Atwater and Charlie Black in the mid-'80s, and is now headed by Alex Castellanos and Robin Roberts. Past political clients include Senators Bob Dole, Fred Thompson, and Phil Gramm.
Castellanos described the firm he wants to create as being the "special forces
of public affairs. "If you need lots of ground troops, then we may not be your guys,
he explained, "but if you need senior people with strong strategic resources, then we're your guys."
Though National Media will continue to represent only Republican political candidates, Castellanos said the only criterion for other campaigns would be that they are "pro-business."
Before joining Ketchum two years ago, Courtovich was president and COO of the Children's Scholarship Fund, a $200 million education reform project.
Prior to that, he managed Burson-Marsteller's public affairs practice in Washington, DC.