NEW YORK: Hill & Knowlton is expanding its public affairs practice with a new SVP and two strategic lobbying partnerships.
Jonathan Capehart joins the practice from the New York Daily News, where he was deputy editorial board editor of the Pulitzer Prize-winning section. He has also served as a policy adviser on New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg's 2001 election campaign.
He will serve as SVP and senior counselor and report directly to US president and CEO MaryLee Sachs.
Capehart will fill the newly created position on January 10.
"It's an area that's just prime for growth," Capehart explained. "There is competition [in public affairs, but] I think that what Hill & Knowlton brings to the table is this global network of companies."
Capehart noted that his experience as a political reporter would enable him to "bring a new perspective to H&K that they might not already have."
The agency also has formed strategic alliances with two New York-based lobbying firms - Davidoff Malito & Hutcher and Empire Strategies - to focus on government relations in the city and state.
New York is a "major market" for public affairs, said Steve Aiello, senior counselor at H&K.
"We want to add increased resources, capabilities, and talents," he said. "We want to be able to add to our public affairs not only in the US, but also worldwide."
Although there are no clients yet, Aiello pointed to the NBA as an example of an organization that might take advantage of the agency's alliances with lobbying shops.
The association is looking for help around labor negotiations after the infamous brawl between fans and players at a Pistons-Pacers game.
The agency also will offer existing clients the opportunity to take advantage of the lobbying capabilities.