Apr 17, 2017

McGuireWoods Consulting makes leadership changes as 20th anniversary approaches

McGuireWoods Consulting LLC, a nationally recognized full-service public and government affairs firm, will mark its 20th anniversary and enter 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 team of four full-time employees. Today, the group has 118 professionals, with offices in seven state capitals, Washington, D.C., and Europe. Over the two decades, the bipartisan firm has served more than 2,000 clients on matters ranging from federal and state government relations to grassroots advocacy and economic development. The National Law Journal’s most recent ranking of more than 1,500 federal government relations firms placed McGuireWoods Consulting in the top 20 for the fifth year in a row.

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

“McGuireWoods Consulting has been partnering with our clients for two decades, creating opportunities and solving problems at the crucial intersection of business and government,” Atkinson said. “We are pleased to announce that Mark T. Bowles and James H. Hodges will assume McGuireWoods Consulting’s top leadership roles.”

Hodges, a former governor of South Carolina, will succeed Payne as president and chief executive officer. Currently a senior advisor at MWC and partner in the law firm, Hodges joined McGuireWoods in 2009. He serves major business clients through a national multistate practice that includes working with governors and other state and federal leaders. In 1998, he became the first person to unseat an incumbent South Carolina governor in 122 years.

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

Other experienced leaders of McGuireWoods Consulting’s bipartisan government and public affairs team will assume added responsibilities in the 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 guide McGuireWoods Consulting to even greater success over decades to come. “Jim and Mark enjoy the confidence of clients and colleagues, and they will lead an outstanding bipartisan team of consultants who consistently deliver for clients 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 two decades by LF and Frank,” Cullen said. “I look forward to working with our new leaders as McGuireWoods Consulting expands its capabilities, talent and reach in ways that will make a big difference for our clients.”

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

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

MWC’s Washington, D.C., office will remain under the leadership of Reagan White House veteran Frank J. Donatelli, a longtime Republican activist whose presidential campaign efforts include 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 in recent years by the addition of high-level tax, health care, energy and transportation policy professionals. That includes recent arrivals of Robert Wasinger, who headed the Trump campaign’s Senate and gubernatorial outreach and was a key Trump transition official, and Harold Hancock, a former 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 of South Carolina government relations. Ashley S. Groome, a senior vice president in Atlanta, will succeed Alexander as director of Georgia government relations.

Continuing their leadership roles for the firm are Christopher D. Lloyd (senior vice president and director of the infrastructure and economic development 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 government relations), Mark A. Miner (senior vice president and co-director of Texas government relations), Nadia C. Crisan (senior vice president and international practice coordinator), and Martha B. Youngblood (executive director).

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

In addition to Payne, Atkinson, and others noted above, senior advisors at McGuireWoods 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.