McGuireWoods Consulting makes leadership changes as 20th anniversary approaches

April 17, 2017

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McGuireWoods Consulting LLC, a nationally recognized full-service publicand government affairs firm, will mark its 20th anniversary andenter its third decade with a transition in its leadership early next year.

Wholly owned by the McGuireWoods LLP law firm, McGuireWoods Consulting(MWC) first opened its doors in Richmond on January 12, 1998, with a teamof four full-time employees. Today, the group has 118 professionals, withoffices in seven state capitals, Washington, D.C., and Europe. Over the twodecades, the bipartisan firm has served more than 2,000 clients on mattersranging from federal and state government relations to grassroots advocacyand economic development. The National Law Journal’s most recentranking of more than 1,500 federal government relations firms placedMcGuireWoods Consulting in the top 20 for the fifth year in a row.

The transition plans were announced today by McGuireWoods Consulting’schairman,Frank B. Atkinson, its president and CEO,L.F. Payne, Jr., and byRichard Cullen, chairman of the law firm. All three were instrumental in the launch ofMcGuireWoods Consulting and will remain active with MWC after thetransition on Jan. 12.

“McGuireWoods Consulting has been partnering with our clients for twodecades, creating opportunities and solving problems at the crucialintersection of business and government,” Atkinson said. “We are pleased toannounce thatMark T. Bowles andJames H.Hodges will assume McGuireWoods Consulting’s top leadership roles.”

Hodges, a former governor of South Carolina, will succeed Payne aspresident and chief executive officer. Currently a senior advisor at MWCand partner in the law firm, Hodges joined McGuireWoods in 2009. He servesmajor business clients through a national multistate practice that includesworking with governors and other state and federal leaders. In 1998, hebecame the first person to unseat an incumbent South Carolina governor in122 years.

Bowles, a consultant with three decades of experience in Virginia politics,government and public affairs, will succeed Atkinson as chairman. A leaderin McGuireWoods Consulting since its founding, Bowles serves as executivevice president overseeing all of MWC’s state capital offices and statepractice groups. He is also a law firm partner.

Other experienced leaders of McGuireWoods Consulting’s bipartisangovernment and public affairs team will assume added responsibilities inthe January 2018 transition:

  • Brad L. Alexander, former chief of staff to the Georgia lieutenant governor and currently senior vice president and Georgia practice director at McGuireWoods Consulting, will become senior advisor and the firm’s director of business development.
  • Betsy D. Beamer, a McGuireWoods Consulting senior advisor in Richmond who served as Virginia’s secretary of the Commonwealth, will take on additional duties as director of strategic planning and special projects.
  • Holly B. Deshields, former chief of staff to a senior Texas legislator and currently a senior vice president co-leading MWC’s Texas practice group, will become director of state strategic growth initiatives.
  • Stephen A. Horton, senior vice president and director of the firm’s communications, grassroots and digital practice group, MWCAdvocacy, will lead the firm’s digital programs expansion initiative. Prior to joining the firm, he served as deputy chief of staff and directed legislative affairs for a Virginia governor.
  • Lee Lilley, former senior staff for a member of U.S. House of Representatives leadership and currently senior vice president at McGuireWoods Consulting, will serve as deputy practice group leader for the Washington office as well as director of federal strategic growth initiatives.
  • Christopher R. Nolen, a former chief counsel to the Virginia attorney general, is senior vice president at McGuireWoods Consulting and a law firm partner. He will become director of state and local government relations services.

Payne, a former Virginia congressman, said Hodges and Bowles will guideMcGuireWoods Consulting to even greater success over decades to come. “Jimand Mark enjoy the confidence of clients and colleagues, and they will leadan outstanding bipartisan team of consultants who consistently deliver forclients with creativity and integrity,” he said.

“McGuireWoods Consulting’s growth and achievements have been extraordinary,thanks in large measure to the remarkable leadership provided for twodecades by LF and Frank,” Cullen said. “I look forward to working with ournew leaders as McGuireWoods Consulting expands its capabilities, talent andreach in ways that will make a big difference for our clients.”

Hodges said the innovative, client-focused approach that led McGuireWoodsto launch MWC 20 years ago will continue to guide the firm. “Our focus iscrafting strategies that achieve positive solutions for our clients, andthat often means doing things in new and creative ways. That has been thehallmark of McGuireWoods Consulting in the past and is the key to ourfuture.”

“Frank and LF established a strong tradition of leadership, integrity andrelentless client service—one that Governor Hodges and I and our whole teamare determined to continue,” said Bowles. “We have a strong foundation, andwe will continue to build McGuireWoods Consulting with our clients’ needsand goals foremost in mind.”

MWC’s Washington, D.C., office will remain under the leadership of ReaganWhite House veteranFrank J. Donatelli, a longtime Republican activist whose presidential campaign effortsinclude those of Sen. Bob Dole and John McCain and Presidents George H.W.Bush and George W. Bush. Growth of MWC’s federal practice has been aided inrecent years by the addition of high-level tax, health care, energy andtransportation policy professionals. That includes recent arrivals ofRobert Wasinger, who headed the Trump campaign’s Senate and gubernatorialoutreach and was a key Trump transition official, and Harold Hancock, aformer majority counsel for the House Ways and Means Committee.

Two new practice group directors will join the leadership team.William D. Boan, a senior vice president in Columbia, will succeed Hodges as director ofSouth Carolina government relations.Ashley S. Groome, a senior vice president in Atlanta, will succeed Alexander as director ofGeorgia government relations.

Continuing their leadership roles for the firm areChristopher D. Lloyd (senior vice president and director of the infrastructure and economicdevelopment practice),Theodore F. “Tray” Adams III (senior vice president and director of Virginia government relations),John F. Dunn (senior vice president and director of Illinois government relations),D. Bowen “Bo” Heath(senior vice president and director of North Carolina governmentrelations),Mark A. Miner(senior vice president and co-director of Texas government relations),Nadia C. Crisan(senior vice president and international practice coordinator), and MarthaB. Youngblood (executive director).

When the leadership transition takes effect in January 2018, Atkinson andPayne will become senior advisors focusing on client service and willremain members of McGuireWoods Consulting’s Governance Committee, whichserves a management liaison function with the McGuireWoods law firm . Cullen will become chair of the Governance Committee, succeedingMcGuireWoods partner Anne Marie Whittemore.

In addition to Payne, Atkinson, and others noted above, senior advisors atMcGuireWoods Consulting include former U.S. Sen.Evan Bayh, Rosemary D. Becchi, James W. Dyke Jr, Matthew Hall, Harold Hancock, Gabriel Iosif, Eric Johnson, Harrison J. Kaplan, Robert Q. Lewis, Yves Melin, Victor Moldovan, Luis J. Saenz, Jacquelyn E. Stone, and Russell W. Sullivan.