Former GOP lawmaker quits Levick amid layoffs

Former GOP lawmaker quits Levick amid layoffs
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Crisis communications firm Levick is looking at a restructuring –- including layoffs –- following a duo of high-level departures, The Hill has learned.

Former Rep. Connie Mack (R-Fla.), who has been an executive vice president with the firm since September 2014, told staff he would be stepping down from his role, a person familiar with the firm said.

Management also announced during an all-staff meeting on Friday that there would be layoffs, though it’s unclear how many.

“The beginning of 2016 has made us seize the opportunity to consider how we can best reorganize and adapt to the needs of our growing client base,” the firm’s founder and CEO, Richard Levick, told The Hill through a spokesman. “As a result, we have restructured arrangements with some employees while others will be moving on to other opportunities.”

While there will be layoffs, some other employees will be working for the firm on a contract basis.

Mack is the second high-level departure in as many months. The firm’s former president, Mark Irion, stepped down in January. Irion, who joined Levick in 2013 after serving as the CEO of Dutko, had worked to expand Levick’s lobbying business.

The former Florida congressman had been recruited by Democratic strategist Lanny Davis, a columnist for The Hill, and was brought on to work with and cultivate international clients. Last September, Mack was named the U.S. spokesman of Hungary.

Mack called his 17-month stint at Levick a “great professional endeavor,” praising the firm as “one of the best in the strategic communications and reputation management business.”

“However, it has long been a part of my professional plan to continue expanding my own business offerings, and as a result, I made the decision to move on,” he said through a spokesman. “I will continue to look for opportunities to work with the Levick team on several accounts and we will maintain a close and friendly relationship moving forward.”

While at Levick, Mack also maintained a pair of his own Florida-based consulting firms, Mack Strategies and Liberty International Group.

His bio page has already been removed from Levick's website. It remains uncertain whether the firm will keep any of Mack’s clients, including the Hungarian government.

A person with knowledge of the firm said there is a concern among its rank and file about what the departure means. Levick, the founder, however, emphasized that the changes are merely a restructuring that will bring the firm back to its roots in strategic communication services.

“Levick has an underlying growth strategy that has been implemented over the past three years and is propelling us into a more dominant role in the strategic communications industry,” he said.

“While we will continue to grow and expand our practices and service offerings, we are also making sure we focus on what has always been our strategic communications sui generis – crisis, public affairs, and risk and reputation management,” Levick continued. “We welcome this challenge and are excited about the future."

In 2014, the firm began a major foray into the lobbying business, purchasing K Street firm Dow Lohnes Government Strategies in a move that more than doubled its lobbying revenue from the year before. Rick Kessler, who had led Dow Lohnes and traveled to Levick after the acquisition, left the firm for Capitol Hill last year.

According to the most recent figures available from PR Week, Levick earned $17.23 million in overall revenue in 2014 with a headcount of 64 infour different offices around the country.


-- This post was updated at 10:30 a.m.