John Houston, chairman of Brussel’s largest lobbying firm, GPC Market
Access Europe, has left the company after eight years.
In an agreed statement, GPC Market Access Group chairman Andrew Gairdner
said Houston had wanted more time to ‘pursue his interest in the issues
with which business and government have to deal together’.
Prior to joining Market Access Europe as a director in 1989, Houston
spent 15 years in government both in Westminster and Brussels. He was a
special adviser to Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe between 1983 and
1989, and was awarded an OBE for political services.
His departure follows the merger in December last year of Market Access
Europe - of which Houston was managing director - and Government Policy
Consultants, whose managing director Julia Harrison is now MD of the
It is understood that Houston will not be replaced directly as GPCMAE
chairman and that Harrison will assume his role in the development of
Market Access’ international network.
Speaking from his home in Belgium on Monday, Houston confirmed that he
had not joined another consultancy or company, ‘but that doesn’t mean
I’m sitting on my fingers,’ he said.
Asked whether his role at the agency had simply become redundant after
the merger Houston replied: ‘my role was primarily to handle certain key
clients...I expect that role will be replaced or obviously the clients
won’t remain with the company. My other main role was to build the pan-
European business of the group, and it is for them to say [how that is