Revolving Door

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The Revolving Door is the term used to describe where politicians or civil servants take up jobs as lobbyists or consultants in the area of their former public service. It is also a two-way system which also allows former private sector employees to accept positions in the government where they have the power to regulate the sector they once worked in.

A job in the industry could be a reward for services provided to the industry, for sharing information or exercising influence on the process of preparing regulation or making decisions. Also head-hunting a civil servant who has worked at a position well-situated for lobbying can be of interest for the industry, for someone like that brings a network that he can continue to use.

Kenneth Clarke: High Posts at BAT and in the UK Government at the Same Time

An example of someone with a career combining jobs within the industry and the government, is Kenneth Clarke. From 1998 until 2007 he was a non-executive Deputy Chair of British American Tobacco and had to deal with allegations of the company's involvement in smuggling. In the same period he had several posts in the UK government, such as Secretary of State for Justice and Shadow Business Secretary, and Chancellor of the Exchequer as well as Health Secretary before that. The page on Clarke has examples of mixed interests.

Martin Liptrot: Alternating Politics, Tobacco, PR & Public Affairs

Martin Liptrot’s career is another typical example of Revolving Doors, spanning politics, the tobacco industry and public relations.

Starting as a campaign and press officer for the Labour Party in the North West of the UK, he was headhunted by Philip Morris in 1997, four months after Tony Blair’s New Labour Government swept to power. When Blair’s government was elected, many companies were keen to employ people with connections to New Labour. Liptrot, a non-smoker, joined Philip Morris in London. Subsequently based in Switzerland, he helped re-work the tobacco company’s public relations away from one of pure litigation against it critics, as he focused on “CSR Policy and Stakeholder Outreach.”[1] After six years at different positions in PR and Public Affairs with the tobacco manufacturer and its parent company Altria, Liptrot moved to Fedex in 2003 where he campaigned for fewer restrictions on global trade.

In 2006, he was appointed senior executive at Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, where he stayed two years, before moving on to become head of communications at GE Energy Services in 2008. From 2012 to 2103, Liptrot was re-employed by Philip Morris International, this time as Director of Corporate Communications in Lausanne. Currently he is based in Florida as the president of his own PR company.[2]

Notes

  1. Ian Hall, Profile: Martin Liptrot, EMEA, Ogilvy PR Worldwide, PR week, 19 January 2006, accessed May 2014
  2. This profile is based on Martin Liptrot's LinkedIn profile, accessed May 2014, and the above mentioned PRweek profile