APCO Worldwide hires veteran Conservative minister in advisory role

APCO Worldwide has appointed former Conservative business minister and Brexit sceptic Richard Harrington as a senior adviser, following his decision to step down at December's general election.

Harrington, who served as former Prime Minister Theresa May’s under-secretary of state at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS), will also join APCO’s International Advisory Council (IAC).

The IAC comprises more than 100 policy experts, ambassadors and former politicians, as well as journalists and academics.

Harrington will not be a full-time employee of the agency, and will be based in the UK.

Parliamentary career

Harrington, an ally of Tory grandee Kenneth Clarke, was MP for Watford from 2010, but he has been involved with the Conservative party for nearly 40 years, serving as both its treasurer and vice-chairman.

He sat on the International Development Select Committee and was former Prime Minister David Cameron’s apprenticeship adviser.

Harrington also served as a minister in three departments, first at the Home Office under May, when she was Home Secretary, and then at the Department for Work and Pensions (DWP), before moving to BEIS.

During his tenure as a business minister, Harrington was responsible for the UK’s Industrial Strategy, which included the automotive, life science and creative industries.

Last year, Harrington warned of the risks of a no-deal Brexit and went on to resign from the Government to vote for former MP Oliver Letwin’s amendment for MPs to take control of parliamentary business and pass a law to prevent a no-deal scenario.

Harrington also expressed support for a second referendum on Brexit in 2019, and later announced that he would not stand for re-election after Boris Johnson became Prime Minister.

After politics

Commenting on his appointment, Margery Kraus, founder and executive chairman of APCO Worldwide, said: “With decades of experience in government and business, Richard will bring valuable expertise and insight that organisations need, particularly during uncertain times like today.”

Kraus added: “IAC members are increasingly called upon by the c-suite for their prowess in business diplomacy, and Richard’s sage advice and leadership will greatly augment our capacity.”

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