NEW YORK—Fleishman-Hillard has merged the government relations business of Mercury Public Affairs, which was acquired by Omnicom three years ago. The merged firm has also made two senior hires, adding former Bronx borough president and Democratic nominee for mayor in New York City Fernando Ferrer and former Democratic Congressman Max Sandlin.
Mercury joined forces with Fleishman in January of 2005, and the firms’ Washington, D.C., government relations units came together earlier this year. The most recent restructuring will merge the operations in Albany and New York under the Fleishman-Hillard Government Relations brand.
Ferrer joins the firm as a co-chairman in New York. He will provide senior counsel to clients and help direct staff, but will not lobby any elected officials. Ferrer will also serve as a member of the Fleishman-Hillard International advisory board and as co-chairman of FH Hispania, a bilingual Hispanic communications practice established in 2002.
Ferrer was a member of the New York City Council, where he authored key laws addressing public safety, civil rights and anti-discrimination issues. During his 14-year tenure as Bronx borough president, he designed and oversaw the largest urban rebuilding effort in the country. In 2001, he ran a campaign for mayor of New York City and in 2005 he won the Democratic primary for mayor, becoming the first Latino to ever do so in New York City history.
Sandlin represented the 1st Congressional District in northeast Texas from 1997 to 2005 and was part of the House leadership, serving as minority chief deputy whip to minority leader Nancy Pelosi and as a member of the Democratic steering and policy committee. He was also a member of the powerful ways and means committee.
Prior to his service in Congress, Sandlin practiced law in Texas and had a broad-based litigation practice. He was also active in the banking and energy industries.
The two will work alongside Michael McKeon, a partner with Mercury Public Affairs since 2003, who earlier spent seven years working at the senior levels of government in New York State, serving as communications director for Governor George Pataki from 2001 to 2003.