WASHINGTON D.C.—Robert Tappan, a senior U.S. State Department public affairs official and expert in corporate communications and public affairs, has been named president of the Washington, D.C. region of Burson-Marsteller. Finding new leadership for the D.C. operation was a priority for chief executive Mark Penn following the departure of Richard Mintz for rival Brunwsick in January.
Tappan will join Burson-Marsteller in early July and oversee the firm’s Washington office, as well as the activities of Direct Impact, its wholly-owned grassroots specialty firm based in Alexandria, Va. He will be responsible for client service and new business development in the region and will report to Patrick Ford, U.S. chief executive, while working closely with Penn.
Tappan is currently principal deputy assistant secretary of state for public affairs, responsible for leading a bureau of 12 offices and 200 communications professionals, helping articulate U.S. foreign policy objectives as well as providing guidance and strategic communications counsel to public affairs officers in the U.S. and abroad.
During his tenure at the State Department, Tappan was asked by the White House to serve as director of strategic communications for the Coalition Provisional Authority in Baghdad, Iraq in the first half of 2004.
Prior to his government service, Tappan held several senior-level positions at public affairs agencies, including senior vice president at Powell Tate. Before entering public relations, he was a member of The Washington Post’s editorial page staff.