A new lobbying firm plans to grow by offering employees the opportunity to keep more of the earnings they generate from clients they sign.
Andrew Rosenberg and Chris Lamond left Ogilvy Government Relations to start Thorn Run Partners. Rosenberg is a former staff aide to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy (D-Mass.), and Lamond worked for then-Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.).
The income new lobbyists at large firms receive typically comes from a base salary plus some incentives to encourage the development of new business. The model offers less risk for new lobbyists, who get the security of working at a firm with a prominent name and an already substantial client base.
But often, lobbyists have to share the benefits of the clients they attract with the firm partners.
Rosenberg said he and Lamond were developing what he described as a more “entrepreneurial” model: lower base pay for greater commissions.
“It’s difficult to find a firm that gives you a big piece of what you generate off the bat,” Rosenberg said.
“We really want to be a firm of entrepreneurs and really attract lobbyists who know how to bring in clients and how to service them and keep them happy.”
Rosenberg’s and Lamond’s departures come amid reorganization at Ogilvy as part of its ongoing integration with WPP.
Ogilvy started as a small, all-Republican shop known as the Federalist Group. It grew into a top-10 earner on K Street after being bought by the WPP Co., a giant advertising and public-relations firm.
Previously, three former Ogilvy lobbyists left to start their own firm, a return to the all-Republican model Federalist Group was once based on. Stewart Hall, John Green and Jim Baker, who were among the nine Republican lobbyists at Ogilvy, have started Crossroad Strategies.
Rosenberg said both he and Lamond had envisioned starting their own shops someday, too. While the reorganization at Ogilvy presented a “natural time of transition,” Rosenberg said his and Lamond’s departure wasn’t related to the changes.
Thorn Run has commitments for a dozen clients, most of which are in the healthcare field, Rosenberg said.
Each side said the parting was amicable.
“It’s Washington — nobody stays in one place forever. We had a great run with everybody. Everybody is entitled to do their own thing,” said Drew Maloney, who was recently promoted to CEO of Ogilvy Government Relations.
Maloney said Ogilvy would soon announce additions to its lobbying team. In addition to Maloney’s elevation to CEO, other management changes included the naming of Moses Mercado and Wayne Berman as co-chairmen of the group and Gordon Taylor as president.
Ogilvy earned $5.2 million in the third quarter of 2009, an 18 percent increase from the same quarter last year.
Maloney said the firm would announce the addition of lobbyists to its team soon.
Rosenberg and Lamond also have worked for large, successful lobbying firms in addition to Ogilvy.
Rosenberg formerly worked at Patton Boggs, the legal and lobbying firm. Lamond is an alum of Cassidy & Associates, which typically ranks in the top five of lobbying firms in terms of annual revenues.