Teneo buys minority stake in WestExec Advisors

02 March 2021 Consulting.us 2 min. read
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Teneo, a New York-headquartered public relations and advisory firm, has made a significant minority investment in WestExec Advisors, a Washington, DC-based consulting firm specializing in political risk.

Teneo’s investment will help WestExec boost its growth trajectory. The strategy firm, which had approximately 38 employees as of November 2020, will continue to be led by managing partners Michèle Flournoy, Sergio Aguirre, and Nitin Chadda.

“This relationship advances our goal to provide best-in-class strategic advice to industry leaders bringing to bear a team of diverse professionals," said Flournoy, who was on the shortlist to become President Biden’s defense secretary. She formerly served as undersecretary of defense for policy.

WestExec cofounder Tony Blinken left the firm to become Biden’s secretary of state. Avril Haines, a former principal at WestExec, is Biden’s director of national intelligence.

Teneo buys minority stake in WestExec AdvisorsThe consulting firm’s team of senior national security leaders boasts close relationships with the Biden administration and the defense department. The firm offers consulting on geopolitical trends and risk, economics, and technology developments – leveraging expertise and deep networks in defense, foreign policy, intelligence, economics, and communications. WestExec is not a lobbying firm, so its services stop short of advocating for federal money on behalf of clients.

As a result of Teneo’s minority stake in the WestExec, the two consulting firms will work to integrate their services to provide clients with a broader array of expertise.

"We are very pleased to be entering this new partnership with Michèle, Sergio, Nitin, and the incredible team of accomplished professionals at WestExec," said Declan Kelly, chairman and CEO of Teneo. "Our two firms offer highly complementary services and we are confident that through our new partnership we will deliver even further value to our respective clients around the world."

Kelly also has strong ties to Democratic Party elites, having served as one of Hillary Clinton’s top advisors during her presidential campaign in 2008. He afterwards served as US special economic envoy to Northern Ireland between 2009 and 2011. Kelly had previously held executive roles at FTI Consulting, Financial Dynamics, and FleishmanHillard.

After leaving the state department, he founded Teneo in New York in 2011 – which has grown rapidly to an employee footprint of 850 people across 20 global offices. The firm provides CEO advisory support in strategic communications, investor relations, digital advisory, diversity & inclusion, management consulting, physical & cyber risk advisory, restructuring, financial advisory, corporate governance advisory, political & policy risk advisory, and talent advisory.

The company in 2019 acquired Australian communications consultancy Quay Advisers.