A changing of the guard is in the works at the consulting and lobbying arm of one of Richmond’s biggest law firms.
McGuireWoods Consulting announced last month it is swapping out its chairman and CEO.
James Hodges, a former governor of South Carolina, is taking over as the firm’s president and CEO. He’s been with the firm since 2009 and will succeed L.F. Payne Jr.
Mark Bowles, an executive vice president, will become chairman, replacing Frank Atkinson.
The changes will take effect Jan. 12, 2018, which will mark MWC’s 20th year in business.
Payne, Atkinson and Bowles were among the original group that started MWC as an offshoot of the Richmond legal giant McGuireWoods, and have grown it to 118 employees and offices in Richmond, Charlottesville, the capital cities of Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Illinois, Texas and Washington, D.C., and internationally in Bucharest, Romania and Brussels, Belgium.
“Frank and L.F. and Mark were sort of the original Beatles of our firm,” Hodges said. “The changes that are taking place are the recognition that we’ve gone from a Richmond-focused shop to a national and international firm. Our task will be to look at the next phase.”
The firm handles lobbying and public relations for a wide swath of clients. Its roster last year included American Airlines, Teach for America, Waste Management, the Washington Redskins, Apple, HCA, Live Nation, Federation of Virginia Food Banks, Koch Industries and the Virginia Tech Foundation, according to the Virginia Public Access Project, which tracks lobbyists and lobbying firms.
Bowles said the consulting arm started in 1998 to capitalize on the law firm’s list of clients by offering another suite of services.
“At that time we saw a real void in the marketplace,” Bowles said. “We aspired to be robust and full service, and (a company) that goes beyond traditional shoe-leather lobbying. I think we’ve accomplished that.”
The leadership change, Bowles said, is a “function of our growth and how we adapt to the size we have become.
“That new size has necessitated the addition of additional management manpower.”
Bowles will be based in MWC’s Richmond office in the Gateway Plaza building. Hodges will be based in South Carolina, where the firm has an office in Columbia.
Payne and Atkinson will continue to work for the firm.
“Nobody is retiring,” Bowles said.
MWC would not disclose its revenue figures or what percentage of McGuireWoods’ overall revenue it accounts for.