Axelrod Gives Up Ownership Stake in Consulting Firm
David Axelrod, perhaps the most trusted member of President-elect Barack Obama's political inner circle, is giving up ownership stake in the media consulting firm he founded in order to become a senior adviser in the White House.
The firm, which will still be known as AKPD Message and Media, will reconfigure itself; Three of its current partners -- David Plouffe, John Kupper and John Del Cecato -- will remain and a fourth consultant, Larry "Gris" Grisolano, will join as the managing partner of the firm.
Grisolano had previously been part of The Strategy Group, a Chicago-based direct mail firm, and during the presidential campaign had served as director of paid media and opinion research -- a fancy name for coordinating the ad and polling operations.
Grisolano will remain "of counsel" to Strategy Group, according to partner Pete Giangreco. "While we have great relationships with lots of media firms, we have always
had a special relationship with AKPD [and] this continues that relationship," said Giangreco.
"It's really difficult for me to leave a company that's been such a huge part of my life, but I enter my new post with enormous pride and confidence in the team that's taking over," Axelrod said. "I feel privileged to be able to hand-pick my successors, and I take comfort in knowing AKPD will be led by the very best political minds anywhere in this country."
Axelrod's move is a rare one for a longtime political consultant. Typically these consultants view themselves as hired guns, campaign nomads who go from election to election -- never delving too deeply into policy.
Axelrod's decision to sell his stake of AKPD shows the unique connection he enjoys with Obama and suggests he won't simply be a drive-by participant in the goings-on of the first four years of the new administration.
January 16, 2009; 12:45 PM ET
Categories: White House
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