LONDON — Simon McGee, former press secretary to UK Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, has joined APCO Worldwide as an executive director of its Global Solutions practice.

McGee started work this week and will work alongside practice lead Frank Lowenstein, an international policy expert and former high-ranking State Department official, who joined APCO in December 2017 and is based in Washington D.C.

As well as advising Johnson, during his time as a senior civil servant McGee served as a personal communications advisor to four Cabinet ministers and as the head of media for three government departments, including leading HM Diplomatic Service’s worldwide media operation.

McGee developed communications strategy and execution around foreign and domestic policy initiatives and international crises. He also led award-winning teams delivering campaigns on Britain’s gender equality work in Africa and Asia and the UK’s Ebola response in West Africa.

Before joining the government, McGee was a parliamentary lobby correspondent and reporter for outlets including the Sunday Times, Mail on Sunday and Yorkshire Post.

He told the Holmes Report that he hadn’t originally planned to move into the private sector and hadn’t spoken to any other agencies: “I feel very lucky to have had two careers so far – I had a wonderful seven years in government after 10 years as a journalist. I was the head of news in three government departments, with all the pressures that involves, and I wanted a change.

“I wasn’t looking to leave government at all, but someone suggested that I have a chat with Brad Staples. I didn’t have any intention of going into an agency but we really got on and I was impressed by the truly international nature and scope of APCO’s work, its culture, and Global Solutions as a geo-political practice. I’m looking forward to learning more things and seeing a different perspective on the world.”

APCO Worldwide CEO Brad Staples said: “Simon brings deep insights into the workings of government communications, extensive media relationships, a proven track record of building international communication networks and the valuable perspective of a former parliamentary lobby correspondent. We are delighted to welcome him to APCO and look forward to seeing the Global Solutions team grow further under his and Frank’s leadership.”