LOS ANGELES: Edelman has hired former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa as a senior adviser.
Villaraigosa's eight-year tenure as mayor ended in July. He won his first term, serving as the city's first Hispanic mayor since the 19th century, in 2005 and was reelected four years later. A Democrat, he previously served as a member of Los Angeles' City Council and California's State Assembly.
At the national level, Villaraigosa served as president of the US Conference of Mayors, where he promoted education reform and additional investment in transportation infrastructure. He also chaired the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, NC.
“With almost 20 years in public service, I think I've learned a little bit about policy,” Villaraigosa said. Already working with clients such as the Bank of California, he added that his experience on state and federal issues will help entities trying to navigate the political landscape.
Edelman believes that the ability to build coalitions across ideological divides will be a key asset of its public affairs practice and a priority growth area for the firm, according to Katie Burke, global public affairs chair. She was promoted from her previous role as global chief of staff on July 1.
“We've long been admirers of [Villaraigosa's] straight forward, common sense approach, and his deep, practical understanding of the nexus of business and public policy will be incredibly valuable to a wide range of current and future Edelman clients,” Burke said, via email.
Nutritional products company Herbalife, which was facing allegations that it is a “pyramid scheme,” also hired Villaraigosa as an adviser last month. He is counseling the company on business development and community outreach, according to the Los Angeles Times.
This story was updated on October 22 with comment from Burke.