New York-based financial PR firm Abernathy MacGregor has opened a Washington, D.C. office led by Sarah Knakmuhs, Mike Hotra and Liz Sidoti, who join the firm as Managing Directors. According to the release, the Havas owned agency presence is the latest component of the firm’s ongoing strategic evolution, which includes the addition of a corporate governance advisory function and an enhanced research offering. Building on its 35-year reputation as a strategic communications advisor to CEOs, board directors and senior executives, the firm is adding capabilities to meet the intensifying challenges and demands clients face from all stakeholders. These new offerings advance Abernathy MacGregor’s market-leading position helping clients execute through pivotal moments such as transactions, crises, litigation, restructuring and shareholder activism.

Knakmuhs is a Managing Director and Head of Abernathy MacGregor’s Washington, D.C. office. She was most recently Vice President of Government Affairs and Public Policy at Altria Group. Knakmuhs also served as a Vice President charged with creating and implementing plans to bring new products to market and was a member of the Executive Leadership Team at Altria, following an assignment leading investor relations for the company. Her recent responsibilities included advocacy on legislative policies, activations, research and ballot initiatives for federal, state and local government affairs. She is a graduate of Miami University (Ohio) and the Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

Hotra is a Managing Director at Abernathy MacGregor. He was most recently Vice President at the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) and, before PhRMA, served as a Deputy Managing Director of a Washington, D.C.-based public affairs firm. Prior to that, Hotra was an advocate for legal reform at the federal and state levels. Throughout his career, he has conceived and executed integrated advocacy campaigns for companies and industry coalitions facing existential political, legislative and regulatory challenges and opportunities. Hotra is a graduate of Syracuse University. He also has been recognized by PR Week as a Public Affairs Professional of the Year.

Sidoti is a Managing Director at Abernathy MacGregor, joining the firm from BP, where she was Head of U.S. Communications. In that role, she managed crisis response while developing and delivering communications, external affairs and advocacy programs to strengthen BP’s U.S. reputation following the Deepwater Horizon incident. Previously, Sidoti spent 15 years as a journalist at the Associated Press, most recently as National Political Editor and Correspondent covering the White House, Congress, national and statewide campaigns, public affairs and voter attitudes. She is a graduate of Ohio University and an adjunct professor at Georgetown University’s McCourt School of Public Policy.

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