He will lead the firm’s West Coast public affairs team and focus on energy, the environment, and technology. Burns will be based in Sacramento, CA, and report to US president Michael Law.
In the newly created role, Burns said he sees the opportunity to "re-energize" and grow a "very significant" West Coast public affairs group. Law added that the firm is planning to expand in Sacramento, but it has no designs for an office just yet.
No recruiter was involved in the hire, Burns said. He described the process as "organic," since he met Law years ago and was recently reintroduced to him through a mutual contact. When they reconnected, Law said the "timing was ideal."
Burns is joining Burson from Chevron, where he spent more than 11 years in senior roles in government affairs, policy development and implementation, executive staffing, CSR, and community investment. Most recently, he served as manager of state government affairs at the energy company. Burns was hired by Chevron in 2002, following its merger with Texaco, as the company’s first manager of CSR.
He has also served as the federal government affairs director for Enron and co-founded the international energy task force of the 22-nation Pacific Economic Cooperation Council.