WASHINGTON: Wayne Berman, the lobbyist who oversaw the Chevron account at Ogilvy Government Relations, has departed the firm to join private equity company Blackstone Group as an in-house lobbyist.
Chris Giblin, the newly appointed CEO of Ogilvy Government Relations, confirmed the departure. He declined to comment on whether the split is related to Chevron's decision to cut ties with both Ogilvy Government Relations and Ogilvy PR.
Ogilvy Government Relations lost other staffers this week including Drew Maloney, the firm's former CEO, and two other lobbyists. Maloney said via email that his exit, as well as those of lobbyists John O'Neill and Elena Tompkins, was not tied to the Chevron decision. He did not comment on Berman.
Chevron ended its relationship with the two Ogilvy firms after Ogilvy PR account director Felipe Benitez gave a presentation last month to Amazon Watch on environmental defense strategic communications. Amazon Watch, which advocates on behalf of indigenous peoples in South America, has been highly critical of Chevron's activities.
Ogilvy representatives declined to comment on the issue, saying it was a “personnel matter,” but Chevron contended that it made its decision because of a “material conflict of interest.”
Maloney will become an external affairs adviser to the Republican National Committee, working on the campaign of GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.
Giblin said he will focus in coming weeks on hiring up to three staffers to fill the spots of those who have departed.
“I learned a lot from [Berman] and from all these guys. I'm just trying to identify good people who have good books of business,” Giblin said. “If you can be successful in identifying good people, you're going to have a successful firm.”