Sean Smith, the former assistant secretary of public affairs at the Department of Homeland Security, has joined Porter Novelli as SVP with the global crisis communications group.
At the DHS, Smith had a team of 300. The public affairs staff managed comms for the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the U.S. Coast Guard, and other DHS divisions. He handled outreach for the Gulf oil spill, the H1N1 outbreak, and other crises. Prior to that, he served as a spokesperson for Barack Obama during his presidential campaign.
At PN, he’ll report to Kiki McLean, global public affairs head and work in both the New York and D.C. offices.
On the flip side, PN CEO Gary Stockman told PRWeek that the firm laid off executives in the New York and Chicago offices in recent weeks. Among those cut were John Havens, EVP of social media, and Peter Pitts, a partner with the firm and previously its head of global healthcare.