WASHINGTON, D.C.—Quinn Gillespie & Associates, the lobbying and public affairs firm, has been acquired by WPP Group. Headed by former Clinton aide Jack Quinn and veteran Republican strategist Ed Gillespie, the bipartisan shop has 25 people and revenue of $12.5 million in 2002.
Two years ago, Quinn Gillespie came close to being acquired by Fleishman-Hillard, but the deal fell through after negotiations with FH parent company Omnicom hit a snag. Now it will join a WPP line-up in Washington that includes PR firms Burson-Marsteller, Hill & Knowlton and Ogilvy, and lobbying specialists Timmons & Company, Wexler & Walker, and BKSH & Associates.
Quinn and Gillespie will report to Howard Paster, former head of Hill & Knowlton and now executive vice president in charge of WPP’s PR and public affairs operations.
“I think it broadens our capability, the addition of Messrs. Quinn and Gillespie,” says WPP chief executive Martin Sorrell. “They have different approaches and different people, and our business is about talent and securing talent, and this increases our scope and coverage. It’s a complement to what we have,”
Quinn will continue to run the firm while Gillespie, who is on leave while heading the Republican National Committee, will rejoin after the 2004 elections.
Both partners are high-profile figures in the Washington public policy arena. Quinn was a senior aide to President Clinton, and achieved a measure of notoriety after the controversial pardon of his client Marc Rich as Clinton was leaving office. Gillespie, meanwhile, is known for his role in crafting the GOP’s Contract with America while an aide to former House Majority Leader Dick Armey. He was also a senior advisor to Senator Elizabeth Dole.
Since it was founded in 2000, Quinn Gillespie has established a strong reputation for managing difficult issues involving legislation, regulation and corporate reputation, attracting clients such as Hewlett-Packard, Sony, Coca-Cola, PricewaterhouseCoopers, Verizon, DirectTV, Tyson Foods and Microsoft.