NEW YORK—Burson-Marsteller has named Bennett Freeman, former deputy assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor, as managing director for corporate responsibility in the firm’s U.S. corporate and financial practice. Freeman will advise corporate and institutional clients on corporate responsibility policies, stakeholder engagement strategies, and international standards and initiatives that address human rights, labor rights, the environment and sustainable development.
Freeman has two decades of combined government and private sector dealing with the domestic and global issues faced by multinational corporations. At BM, he will assist clients develop company principles and codes of conduct, undertake project and country risk assessments, build relations with NGOs, manage multi-stakeholder dialogues, and assess corporate responsibility reporting and assurance frameworks.
“We see corporations facing growing pressures and expectations from diverse stakeholders around the world,” said Judi Mackey, chair of Burson-Marsteller’s U.S. corporate and financial practice. “These groups have set new agendas and even new rules of the conduct of business. Bennett will bring our clients global expertise and credibility on corporate responsibility and human rights.”
Freeman was formerly the principal of Sustainable Investment Strategies, where he advised global companies, international institutions and NGOs on corporate responsibility and political risk issues. In 2001 he co-authored a Human Rights Impact Assessment for BP’s Tangguh natural gas project in Indonesia, the first conducted for a major energy project in the world. Earlier, as deputy assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights and labor from 1999 to early 2001, he was responsible for the State Department’s bilateral human rights diplomacy, and for international labor diplomacy for part of that period as well.
According to Freeman, “Burson-Marsteller has a respected track record in working with senior executives of leading global corporations in the development and communication of corporate responsibility strategies. Our goal is -to help clients manage risk and create competitive advantage, and contribute positively to the challenges of globalization at the same time.”