Former Vice President National Campaign Fundraiser Kamala Harris is opening a strategic consulting firm that will aim, in part, to guide businesses and senior executives in managing social justice and political issues.
Jon Henes, a long-time corporate restructuring lawyer at renowned law firm Kirkland & Ellis, plans to launch his new New York-based firm on Labor Day, according to people briefed on the Labor Day. subject.
The company plans to hire at least 15 people initially, and it could expand its business to Washington, DC, Los Angeles and San Francisco, one person said.
The consulting firm will have a multi-pronged approach, including a strategic corporate advisory arm that would do the traditional advice on hiring practices such as union inclusion. It will also have a team that will focus on environmental, social and corporate governance, as well as diversity, equity and inclusion in the workplace, the people said.
Those named in this story declined to be named because details of the new venture have yet to be finalized.
A Kirkland & Ellis press release announcing Henes’ departure said he was set to set up a strategic consulting firm, but provided no further details.
âOver the past few years, in addition to my job at Kirkland, I have had the opportunity to immerse myself in the world of politics and politics, opening my eyes to the critical need to help CEOs navigate the convergence of business, finance and law with social justice, diversity, inclusion and politics, âHenes said in the statement. “It is bittersweet to leave my colleagues in Kirkland, many of whom are my family, but I am delighted to be embarking on this new chapter in my career.”
He did not return CNBC’s requests for follow-up comment.
The company’s launch comes as businesses experience a pushback from consumers and employees over their stances on voting and other social justice and environmental issues.
After the passage of laws deemed restrictive by critics in Georgia, companies have felt compelled to respond. Several did, including Major League Baseball, which moved its all-star game from Georgia to Colorado.
In a recent example of pressure, Toyota stopped making campaign contributions to Republican lawmakers who challenged the election results.
The competition for consulting firms like these is fierce, but many, especially those led by people with high-level contacts, are often successful.
Teneo, which was co-founded by former Bill Clinton right-hand man Doug Band, has always been known as an influential advisory group with connections to big business.
The same can be said for WestExec Advisors, which has seen more than 15 consultants enter the Biden administration, according to reports from The Intercept and The American Prospect. Antony Blinken co-founded WestExec and is now Secretary of State.
One of the other expected executives of the Henes firm is Alvin Tillery, according to the sources. Tillery is an associate professor at Northwestern University and director of the school’s Center for the Study of Diversity and Democracy.
Tillery has experience running his own consulting firm. He is the founder of Analytic Insights Consulting, which, according to the company’s website, “advises businesses, nonprofits and government entities looking to create more diverse, fair and inclusive work environments. “. Former listed clients of the company include MGM International Resorts, Baker Demonstration School, Town of Evanston and Exelixis.
If Tillery and Henes come to a formal agreement, Northwestern’s associate professor will continue his work at the school and take a leadership role in the new consulting business, one person said. Analytic Insights Consulting is potentially part of the new firm founded by the former partner of Kirkland & Ellis, this person noted.
Tillery did not return a request for comment.
Henes was Harris’ national finance president as she ran for president in the 2020 election, helping her raise at least $ 400,000 before she started raising funds for Joe Biden, CNBC previously reported.
Henes also led fundraising efforts both for Democrat Jaime Harrison’s candidacy for the US Senate seat in South Carolina last year and for former Citigroup executive Ray McGuire’s campaign for mayor of New York in the Democratic primary this year.
While the Harris, Harrison and McGuire races failed, his fundraising efforts were essential for Henes in developing contacts and potential partners and clients for his new businesses. Harris has become vice chairman and Harrison is the new chairman of the Democratic National Committee.
Henes also developed strong corporate ties when working for clients as a restructuring and corporate governance advisor. Kirkland’s website shows past clients include Ion Media, Avaya, and J. Jill.