Abernathy MacGregor Expands Strategic Communications Offering to Meet Evolving Client Demand

We’re excited to announce that we’ve expanded our offering to clients with the launch of a Washington, D.C. office led by Sarah KnakmuhsMike Hotra and Liz Sidoti, who join the firm as Managing Directors.

Abernathy MacGregor’s new Washington, D.C. presence is the latest component of the firm’s ongoing strategic evolution, which includes the addition of a corporate governance advisory function and an enhanced research offering. Building on its 35-year reputation as a strategic communications advisor to CEOs, board directors and senior executives, the firm is adding capabilities to meet the intensifying challenges and demands clients face from all stakeholders. These new offerings advance Abernathy MacGregor’s market-leading position helping clients execute through pivotal moments such as transactions, crises, litigation, restructuring and shareholder activism.

Tom Johnson, Abernathy MacGregor’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “In an increasingly complex world, effective communications have never been more important to producing results. Companies today face multifaceted and rapidly evolving challenges as business, political and social issues converge. Public and regulatory scrutiny of corporations is more intense than ever, how information is generated and consumed is constantly evolving, and the role of business in society is being fervently debated. In this dynamic, effective communication is vital. Corporate leaders need to bridge stakeholder concerns from Wall Street to Main Street to Washington and beyond. We believe highly customized and holistic communications strategies build and protect value, advance stakeholder relations and achieve real results.”

“We are pleased to now offer our clients expanded expertise and new insights into government, policy and the media that will enable them to thrive in today’s demanding environment,” Johnson said. “Sarah, Mike and Liz embody the core attributes of Abernathy MacGregor professionals – smart, motivated and collaborative, with an unrelenting focus on creating and implementing strategies and tactics that produce results for clients across the wide and expanding range of stakeholder groups. We look forward to their contributions as we continue to find new opportunities to serve our clients and continue to grow.”

Knakmuhs is a Managing Director and Head of Abernathy MacGregor’s Washington, D.C. office. She was most recently Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy at Altria Group. Knakmuhs also served as a Vice President charged with creating and implementing plans to bring new products to market and was a member of the Executive Leadership Team at Altria, following an assignment leading investor relations for the company. Her recent responsibilities included advocacy on legislative policies, activations, research and ballot initiatives for federal, state and local government affairs. She is a graduate of Miami University (Ohio) and the Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

Hotra is a Managing Director at Abernathy MacGregor. He was most recently Vice President at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and, before PhRMA, served as a Deputy Managing Director of a Washington, D.C.-based public affairs firm.  Prior to that, Hotra was an advocate for legal reform at the federal and state levels. Throughout his career, he has conceived and executed integrated advocacy campaigns for companies and industry coalitions facing existential political, legislative and regulatory challenges and opportunities. Hotra is a graduate of Syracuse University. He also has been recognized by PR Week as a Public Affairs Professional of the Year.

Sidoti is a Managing Director at Abernathy MacGregor, joining the firm from BP, where she was Head of U.S. Communications. In that role, she managed crisis response while developing and delivering communications, external affairs and advocacy programs to strengthen BP’s U.S. reputation following the Deepwater Horizon incident. Previously, Sidoti spent 15 years as a journalist at the Associated Press, most recently as National Political Editor and Correspondent covering the White House, Congress, national and statewide campaigns, public affairs and voter attitudes. She is a graduate of Ohio University and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy.

Knakmuhs said: “Liz, Mike and I are thrilled to have the opportunity to pair new capabilities, perspectives and services with Abernathy MacGregor’s long record of achieving results for clients, particularly during transformational moments. With corporate, investor, political and media backgrounds and deep expertise in highly regulated industries, we are well positioned to help clients navigate through the uncertainty that stretches from Wall Street to Washington and across the country in state capitals.”

Knakmuhs, Sidoti and Hotra join other recent senior additions to Abernathy MacGregor as part of the firm’s strategic growth plan. In April, Abernathy MacGregor appointed Eileen Cohen as a Senior Counselor who focuses on corporate governance advisory and shareholder engagement strategies. Prior to Abernathy MacGregor, Cohen served as a Managing Director at JP Morgan Asset Management, where she was the Chair of the North America Governance Committee, leading corporate engagement activities on behalf of the firm’s clients.

Additionally, Abernathy MacGregor recently named Heidi Crowe to the newly created position of Director of Research and Information Services. In this role, Crowe will ensure Abernathy MacGregor’s research function is increasingly additive to the firm’s client engagements and Abernathy MacGregor’s growth trajectory.  She previously served in similarly senior capacities at Kekst CNC and Brunswick Group.

Johnson concluded: “I have never been more excited about Abernathy MacGregor’s future. We have among the most talented professionals in our industry, who are engaged in challenging and rewarding client assignments.”

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