Jim Wilkinson, a top communications appointee during the Bush administration who has been Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson’s top advisor, has joined Brunswick Group as an international managing partner.
Wilkinson had been serving as chief of staff to Paulson since 2006. He will split time between New York and San Francisco for Brunswick, with some time in Washington, the firm said.
Jim Wilkinson at a PR Society event in 2003.
He had been a strategist and counselor to Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and the National Security Council, and also was a deputy assistant and deputy national security advisor for communications to President Bush. Earlier, he was Middle East director of strategic communications for Gen. Tommy Franks at the U.S. Central Command from 2002-03 during military operations in Afghanistan and, based in Qatar, the invasion of Iraq.
The New York Observer credited him in 2003 with helping to package and promote the notion that Al Gore claimed to have “invented the Internet” in 1999, and as part of the team that set up President Bush's defining Sept. 14, 2001 visit to the World Trade Center site.
He started out in Congress as a staffer to then-House Majority Leader Rep. Dick Armey and as communications director for the National Republican Congressionally Committee.
Beefs Up D.C.
Brunswick has been bolstering its public affairs savvy in recent days. The firm said this week it hired Viacom’s senior VP of government relations, David Sutphen, as a partner based in D.C. He previously worked in a similar role at the Recording Industry Association of America, whose former chief, Hilary Rosen, heads Brunswick’s D.C. outpost.
The firm also brought in Lane Hudson, a digital media strategist and former aide to Democratic Sen. Fritz Hollings and South Carolina Gov. Jim Hodges. Hudson, a well-known political blogger, writes for Advocate.com and the Huffington Post.
“Actions in Washington will significantly and directly impact the interests of corporate America,” said senior U.S. partner Steve Lipin.