GMMB opens San Francisco office

Vrge and Capitol Hill veteran Matt James is leading the location.

SAN FRANCISCO: GMMB has opened a San Francisco location with senior counselor Matt James, a veteran of Vrge, as office lead.

James was most recently founding partner of Vrge, formerly known as 463 Communications. Previously, he served as senior fellow at Freedman Consulting and president and cofounder of Next Generation, a GMMB nonprofit client that fights climate change. Prior, he worked at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation for 19 years and was a Capitol Hill aide, according to his LinkedIn account.

James said Vrge is a "great" firm, but its tech-focused work isn’t "as natural of a fit for the work that I do."

"GMMB is a better fit," he added. "I’m particularly excited about doing work in the areas of climate change and health."

Clients are moving to GMMB with him, such as the Water Funder Initiative and high-net-worth individuals involved in philanthropy.

FleishmanHillard public affairs specialty shop GMMB has worked on issues including data privacy, nonprofit work, and global health and development for Bay Area clients, it said in a statement. Clients include the Hewlett Foundation, the American Academy of Ophthalmology, and college recruitment app Handshake. The firm also led media strategy, advertising, and media buying for the Save Lives California campaign for Proposition 56, a measure to raise tobacco taxes to fund health initiatives, which was approved by voters in 2016.

GMMB is headquartered in Washington, DC, and has another office in Seattle.

Vrge does not plan to directly replace James, but it will recruit others in the Bay Area, it said in a statement.

"[James] brought an incredibly innovative and thoughtful vision for a strategic philanthropy practice to Vrge that had us all excited," the firm said. "As Vrge evolved, [James] and the team realized the challenges to achieving his vision within our tech and public-affairs-focused firm. [James] was a wonderful colleague and we look forward to opportunities to partner with him and GMMB on products in the future."

This story was updated on March 28 with additional information.

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