Tom Crawford to head new global advisory practice at FTI Consulting

02 July 2018 3 min. read

FTI Consulting has set up a new global advisory practice within its Strategic Communications group. Led by veteran consultant and public policy specialist Tom Crawford, the practice will help multinational clients navigate growing protectionism across world markets.

The Strategic Communications segment at FTI Consulting comprises more than 600 consultants spread over key worldwide markets who advise clients on overcoming common hurdles associated with market entry. These might include tax and regulatory challenges, as well as matters of reputation, which demand skilled communication with the relevant stakeholders to ensure success.

With the rise of nationalism and protectionist measures from the US to China, Turkey, Brazil and Russia, FTI Consulting has decided to establish a new global advisory practice within its Strategic Communications segment to help companies combat stricter regulations and criteria for market entry.

Chief of Strategic Communications at the consulting firm, Mark McCall, said that the core aim of the new advisory practice was to fight for clients’ “freedom to operate” in a more hostile global environment.

“There is a fundamental shift in how companies must adapt to gain or maintain freedom to operate – the ability to execute its business plan and level the playing field without interference or disadvantage,” he said in a statement, adding that countries were increasingly expressing their sovereignty by enacting tight regulations that protect and insulate their markets.

“Globalization no longer means ‘market access,’ as countries are exercising sovereignty by taxing, regulating and protecting their markets, companies and resources in the context of national interest,” McCall added.

Tom Crawford, Global advisory practice - FTI Consulting

Tom Crawford, who will lead the practice, said that in this new environment “companies must demonstrate their value to society, align with sovereign agendas, and create proof points that they are local businesses.”

"The way the world works now is that what you say in one place or the strategy you adopt in one area is being looked at by regulators, activists, NGOs, and other groups around the world," he said.

FTI clients who are expected to benefit from the new practice include Monsanto, Mastercard, and Mexico (in its ongoing NAFTA negotiations), said Crawford. "We are representing Mexico in the North American Free Trade Agreement negotiations," he explained. "And you’re seeing the global forces at work there too. NAFTA would have traditionally been a very contained discussion between Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. Now it includes China."

"Obviously, Monsanto is facing lots of challenges in terms of reputation and regulatory issues around the world as well as legal entanglements - they have ongoing litigation," he said. "It still involves M&A work and you’re talking to shareholders about the value of the transaction. But at the same time you also have to get product renewals done that keep the value of the company in place."

Crawford was previously America’s head of Government Relations at FTI. He joined the firm’s senior leadership when it bought C2 Group, the political lobbying company he co-founded, in 2013. A noted policy wonk, he was the legislative director of the Michigan legislature before moving to D.C., and has lectured on insurance and tax across the country as part of the Smithsonian series.

“Our new global advisory practice under Tom’s leadership provides a valuable solution for companies by leveraging the FTI global platform, delivering bespoke stakeholder engagement and communications solutions, as well as producing results at scale,” said Mark McCall, expressing confidence in his new colleague.

Under McCall’s leadership, FTI’s Strategic Communications unit saw 2018’s first quarter revenue shoot up by a year-on-year increase of 20.7% to over $52 million. He recently appointed Tara Chandra as a senior director in the team. Elsewhere at FTI, nine new managing directors were appointed to the booming Business Transformation practice.