Washington, DC: Brian Gaudet, formerly a senior executive at Manning Selvage & Lee, has left the firm to establish his own company. The firm, Brian Gaudet & Associates, already has two disclosed clients: the Independent Pilots Association and the UPS pilots union, as well as a confidential litigation support account. The IPA looked at five other agencies before selecting his firm, Gaudet said.
Brian Gaudet & Associates will focus on crisis and labor communications and litigation support, Gaudet said. Currently the staff consists of Gaudet and his wife, Martha Gaudet, who was director of communications services at Health and Human Services during the first Bush administration and who has done freelance work for Stratacomm. However, he said that he would probably be looking to hire in the fall.
Gaudet was most recently MS&L Americas Northeast's director of creative and strategic development. Prior to that he held the same title for MS&L's global corporate practice and, before that, the firm's Washington practice.
"Since 1997, I have 11 case histories with labor communications. It's a fairly underserved, dynamic and challenging industry," he said.
Gaudet said he had been thinking about pursuing his firm for some time, but held back given the general economy and the industry's economy. "A lot of small firms disappeared and the principals took day jobs."
Now, Gaudet said, potential clients are looking for representation from the smaller firms where they don't have to pay a lot of the overhead costs that come from the larger publicly held companies.
"They want to pay for the counsel and the strategy at half the hourly cost than they did before," Gaudet said.
Gaudet said that announcing a client like the IPA, rather than six small clients, gives the firm some credibility and some breathing room. He said he still had to hustle and find out about potential clients before they went public, which was in contrast to his previous employer.
"When I was with Manning, we had our choices to which RFP we responded," Gaudet said.
MS&L's Allison Ross said the company has not announced a replacement yet but expects to soon.