WASHINGTON: FTI Consulting has created a global advisory practice within its strategic communications segment and selected Tom Crawford to lead it, effective immediately.
Crawford reports to Mark McCall, head of FTI’s strategic communications segment. Crawford will draw on talent from across the firm, but he said he expects to lead a core team of approximately a dozen people.
The new practice is needed, Crawford said, because international clients can no longer afford to focus solely on one specific challenge or one geographic area.
"The way the world works now is that what you say in one place or the strategy you adopt in one area is being looked at by regulators, activists, NGOs, and other groups around the world," he said.
Crawford said client Monsanto, which FTI represented during its acquisition by Bayer, is a good example of this.
"Obviously, Monsanto is facing lots of challenges in terms of reputation and regulatory issues around the world as well as legal entanglements - they have ongoing litigation," he said. "It still involves merger and acquisition [work] and you’re talking to shareholders about the value of the transaction. But at the same time you also have to get product renewals done that keep the value of the company in place."
The rise of nationalism has also broadened the scope of FTI’s work, Crawford said.
"We are representing Mexico in the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations," he explained. "And you’re seeing the global forces at work there too. NAFTA would have traditionally been a very contained discussion between Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. Now it includes China."
Crawford said a main goal of the new practice will be to represent clients across geographic areas and communications challenges and create space for them to operate with "the least amount of disruption."
Crawford and McCall noted Monsanto, Mastercard, and Mexico will all benefit from the new structure, but would not disclose what other FTI clients will be considered part of the global advisory practice.
Crawford’s prior job had been Americas head of government relations, a position he held since FTI bought his lobbying firm C2 Group in 2013.
Earlier this year, FTI Consulting hired Tara Chandra as senior director in its strategic communications segment.
FTI Consulting’s strategic communications segment recorded a 20.7% year-over-year increase in revenue in the first quarter to $52.8 million. The segment’s revenue was up 14.1% in the period excluding the impact of foreign currency exchanges.