|Headquarters||Washington, D.C.; Brussels; Hong Kong|
|Key people||Margery Kraus, founder & CEO|
APCO Worldwide is an independent communications consultancy. With more than 600 employees in 29 worldwide locations, it is the second largest independently owned PR firm in the United States. Headquartered in Washington, D.C., APCO was founded in 1984 by Margery Kraus, who is now the firm’s global CEO.
Most public relations firms focus on corporate communications, but APCO has been hired to handle sensitive political issues. Many APCO executives were previously prominent government officials. APCO’s clientele consists of multi-national corporations, governments, associations and nonprofit organizations. Core services include corporate, investor and internal communication, crisis management, issues management, government relations, litigation communication, lobbying, media relations, coalition building, opinion research, market entry, corporate social responsibility, and online communication.
Margery Kraus founded APCO Associates in 1984 as a subsidiary to Arnold & Porter, one of Washington's largest law firms, and from where APCO’s name is derived. Grey Global Group, a New York based global advertising and marketing agency, purchased majority ownership of APCO in 1991 from Arnold & Porter. On September 28, 2004, APCO announced its independent buyout from Grey Global and has thus become one of the largest privately owned public relations firms in the world.
APCO Worldwide has offices in major business, financial, political and media capitals throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. The company's office in Washington, D.C., serves as the company's global headquarters, as well as the regional headquarters for the Americas. Other offices in North America include Chicago, New York, Ottawa, Raleigh, Sacramento, and Seattle.
The headquarters of the company's Europe, Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region is in Brussels. The EMEA region includes offices in Berlin, Bonn, Dubai, Johannesburg, London, Moscow, Paris, Rome, Istanbul, Tel Aviv and Warsaw.
In Asia, Hong Kong serves as the regional headquarters, with other offices in Bangkok, Beijing, Guangzhou, Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Hong Kong, Jakarta, Kuala Lumpur, Mumbai, New Delhi, Singapore and Shanghai.
The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition controversy
The "Sound Science Coalition" (TASSC) was created in 1993 by Phillip Morris and APCO in response to a 1992 United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report which identified secondhand smoke as a Group A human carcinogen. TASSC's links to the tobacco industry were minimized as part of APCO's strategy for TASSC to appear to be an independent national grassroots coalition. To conceal this relationship, TASSC broadened their focus to question other scientific topics, notable among them global warming.
On March 30, 2010, Malaysian opposition leader Anwar Ibrahim alleged in the Malaysian parliament (the Dewan Rakyat) that the 1Malaysia concept was mirrored after “One Israel” concept and designed by Mindteams Sdn Bhd, a branch in Malaysia of APCO Worldwide. He alleged that APCO also created the One Israel concept in 1999 for then Israeli's Prime Minister Ehud Barak. Both APCO and the Barisan Nasional government stated that Anwar's allegation was untrue. Malaysian lawmakers have tabled a motion to censure Anwar for misleading the Parliament over his 1Malaysia-One Israel allegations which was passed by the Parliament on April 22, 2010.
In 2010, APCO was involved in the controversial recommendation to fire Mark Hurd, the CEO of HP. Kent Jarrell, a senior vice president, wrote a mock news story which he showed to HP's board. During this same meeting, he contemplated that HP would negatively be affected by bad press of its CEO being involved in an inappropriate relationship with an ex-soft porn actress, Jodie Fisher.
APCO has developed a team of executives that includes former elected officials, diplomats, business executives, journalists and senior civil servants. The firm has largely grown by expanding internationally, building long-term relationships with clients, and offering comprehensive and integrated services.
Some of APCO's senior consultants and executives include:
- A. Elizabeth Jones, former U.S. ambassador to Kazakhstan
- Baron Hill, former Democratic congressman from Indiana
- Aleksander Kwaśniewski, former president of Poland
- Wendy Luhabe, South African entrepreneur
- Darren Murphy, former media adviser to UK prime minister Tony Blair
- Don Bonker, former Democratic congressman from Washington state
- Donald Riegle, former Democratic senator from Michigan
- Itamar Rabinovich, former Israeli ambassador to the U.S.
- John Magaw, founding director of the Transportation Security Administration
- Lalit Mansingh, former foreign secretary of India and former Indian ambassador to the U.S.
- Marc Ginsberg, former U.S. ambassador to Morocco
- Sergio Marchi, former Canadian ambassador to the World Trade Organization
- Riccardo Perissich, former Director General of European Commission
- Kenneth E. Thorpe, former deputy assistant secretary at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
According to their website, some of APCO's current and former clients include, but are not limited to, the following:
- 1Malaysia, UMNO/BN (Najib Razak)
- British Phonographic Industry
- China Ocean Shipping Company (COSCO)
- Dow Corning Corporation
- Dulles Corridor Metrorail Project
- European Express Association
- Ford's Theatre Society
- Friends of Science
- Futures Group Europe
- Immunex Corporation
- International Federation of Pharmaceutical Manufacturers & Associations
- Johnson Controls
- Malaysian Government
- Medicines for Malaria Venture
- Merck Sharp & Dohme
- Vibrant Gujarat, a biennial investors' summit held by the government of Gujarat, India
- Norilsk Nickel
- Partnership for Prescription Assistance
- Procter & Gamble
- Rotary International
- Quality Brands Protection Committee (QBPC)
- The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)
- The Government of Madagascar
- The Vaccine (GAVI) Fund
- U.S. Travel Association (USTA)
- World Wrestling Entertainment, Inc.
- WorldCom, Inc.
Awards and recognition
APCO was named the "European Consultancy of the Year" in 2009 by the European Public Affairs Directory (EPAD) awards.
- "Top PR Firm Rankings | Public Relations Agency Rankings by O'Dwyer's Public Relations News". Odwyerpr.com.
- APCO Worldwide Inc. (21 October 2010). "Company profile from Hoover's". Hoover's.
- "Statement Of James W. Jones – Center for Professional Responsibility". Abanet.org.
- "GREY GLOBAL GROUP INC – 8-K – 20040928 – FORM". Yahoo.brand.edgar-online.com.
- "US Environmental Protection Agency, "Respiratory Health Effects of Passive Smoking (Also Known as Exposure to Secondhand Smoke or Environmental Tobacco Smoke ETS)"". Cfpub2.epa.gov.
- "Bisa K. Ong, MD MS, and Stanton A. Glantz, PhD, "Constructing "Sound Science" and "Good Epidemiology": Tobacco, Lawyers, and Public Relations Firms", American Journal of Public Health, November 2001, Vol 91, No. 11 Its stated objectives were to: 1) discredit the EPA report; 2) fight anti-smoking legislation; 3) proactively pass legislation favorable to the tobacco industry. The primary objectives of the APCO Associates media plan for TASSC were to "Establish TASSC as a credible source for reporters when questioning the validity of scientific studies" and to "Encourage the public to question – from the grassroots up – the validity of scientific studies".http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/eqa35e00/pdf APCO Associates, "Proposed Plan for the Public Launching of TASSC", September 1993, Philip Morris, Bates no. 2024233709/3717 TASSC developed local coalitions to influence media, legislators, and the public, and recruited scientists and researchers to support Philip Morris's position. Nonetheless, TASSC described itself as "a not-for-profit coalition advocating the use of sound science in public policy decision making."[http://legacy.library.ucsf.edu/tid/zyh09e00/pdf The Advancement of Sound Science Coalition, Untitled Information Sheet Describing TASSC, Bates no. 2046989061]" (PDF).
- George Monbiot, "Mad Science", Interview by Brooke Gladstone, July 6, 2007, On the Media, WNYC, NPR Public Media
- Monbiot, George (September 19, 2006). "The Denial Industry". The Guardian (London). Retrieved August 11, 2010.
- "Parliament: Anwar claims APCO was in M’sia before 1Malaysia concept was announced, The Star, 30 March 2010". Thestar.com.my.
- Ahmad, Razak (April 22, 2010). "Malaysia parliament votes to censure Anwar, Reuters, 22 Apr 2010". In.reuters.com.
- "HP Adviser APCO Built Crisis Unit Handling WorldCom, Vioxx". BusinessWeek. August 11, 2010.
- Vance, Ashlee (August 16, 2010). "Despite H.P.'s Efforts, Mark Hurd Spectacle Goes On". The New York Times.
- "Additional Case Studies". APCO Worldwide.
- "Opens in Malaysia". APCO Worldwide. August 10, 2009.
- "Nazri stands his ground on Apco issue". The Star (Malaysia) (Star Publications). April 15, 2010. Retrieved May 28, 2010.
- "The Modi Machine: Makeover gurus". The Indian Express. Oct 20, 2013.
- "Political news, interviews, analysis and comment focused on the European Parliament in Brussels". TheParliament.com.
- "The Top Places to Work in PR: Agency—APCO Worldwide". PR News Online. October 19, 2009.
- "Awards & Recognition". APCO Worldwide.