Following in the footsteps of several of his predecessors, former Bush administration chief spokesman Ari Fleischer will open Ari Fleischer Communications this September in Washington.
The independent firm will "provide CEOs and others with advice on how to handle the press," said Fleischer, 42, who declined to name any clients. "I'm looking forward to building a business. I've been in government for a virtual lifetime, but I've always had an entrepreneurial side."
"Somebody who has filled as high-profile a role as Ari Fleischer did is going to be in high demand by corporate America," said Eric Fehrnstrom, communications director for Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and a former svp at Hill, Holliday, Connors, Cosmopulos in Boston.
Micho Spring, chair of Weber Shandwick's U.S. corporate public relations practice and former deputy mayor of Boston, added, "[Fleischer's] training ground is great. [But success] is a question of making sure he understands enough about the business realities of corporate CEOs so he can connect appropriately."
Before joining Bush's run for the presidency in 1999, Fleischer, who left the White House last month, was communications director for Elizabeth Dole when she was a Republican presidential candidate. His interest in politics began early, when Fleischer, a native of Westchester, N.Y., was a political science major at Middlebury College in Vermont.
Consulting is a common path for former White House press secretaries. Michael McCurry left the Clinton administration in 1998 and became a Washington communications consultant. Clinton's first press secretary, Dee Dee Myers, became a consultant for The West Wing.