Sard Verbinnen & Co Public Affairs Announces New Leadership Appointments

Bruce Haynes Named Chairman, SVC Public Affairs

Trent Duffy Joins to Co-Head DC Office; Michele Davis Named Senior Counselor

Ed Gillespie to become Senior Executive Vice President for External and Legislative Affairs at AT&T

NEW YORK & WASHINGTON--()--Sard Verbinnen & Co (“SVC”) Public Affairs today announced new leadership appointments, further expanding its team and capabilities.

  • Bruce Haynes, currently Co-Vice-Chairman of SVC Public Affairs, has been named Chairman, leading SVC’s more than 30 public affairs professionals across the firm’s nine offices.
  • Trent Duffy, co-founder of HDMK Public Affairs and a former lead communications officer in the White House and U.S. Congress, joins as Vice Chairman of SVC Public Affairs and Co-Head of the Washington, D.C. office.
  • Michele Davis, most recently Global Head of Corporate Relations and a Management Committee member at Morgan Stanley, joins SVC as Senior Counselor, advising SVC and its clients across numerous practice areas including public affairs, financial communications and crises.
  • Ambassador Miriam Sapiro, who joined the firm in 2018, continues to serve as Vice Chairman of SVC Public Affairs and Co-Head of the Washington, D.C. office.
  • Ed Gillespie, who has served as Chairman of SVC Public Affairs since June 2018, is transitioning to become Senior Executive Vice President for External and Legislative Affairs at AT&T. Gillespie will report directly to CEO Randall Stephenson.

Since its launch two years ago, SVC Public Affairs has quickly become an integral part of our client advisory offering, and we know Bruce will drive its continued success in his new role as Chairman,” said Paul Verbinnen, Co-Founder and Co-Chief Executive Officer of SVC. “We are excited to continue growing the practice, and, as a big step in that direction, to welcome Trent and Michele to SVC to join Bruce and Miriam. We appreciate Ed’s leadership in helping establish this world-class practice, assembling a deep team and building the foundation for its long-term success. We respect his decision to join AT&T, a unique opportunity, and we look forward to continuing our friendship and working with him in his new role.”

Haynes said, “I look forward to working with Miriam and now Trent Duffy to lead SVC’s extraordinary group of over 30 global public affairs professionals. Michele Davis joining Karen Boykin-Towns as an SVC Senior Counselor balances and broadens the depth of our advisory capacity. We will miss working with our good friend Ed, but the addition of Trent and Michele will allow us to continue to grow an already expanding business and help more clients create, build and protect economic and social value.”

I’m looking forward to being a part of the impressive SVC team and joining a global enterprise that engages clients at the highest levels of public affairs,” Duffy said. “I’ll always value what we achieved at HDMK, but at this stage of my career I am ready to take on this new and exciting challenge.”

Davis said, “SVC is a unique advisory firm with nearly 30 years of experience helping boards and management teams navigate high-stakes communications issues. Its integration of public affairs alongside financial communications, litigation, and crisis communications is a perfect fit for my experience and the work I love to do. I also share the firm’s cultural values of integrity, collaboration and giving back to the communities where they work.”

Gillespie said, “SVC is an incredible firm and I’m proud to have been a part of it. While I’m sad to leave, I am excited by this new opportunity at a great American company which is a client of the firm’s. SVC Public Affairs will continue to thrive under the strong leadership of Bruce Haynes and Miriam Sapiro and with the great additions of accomplished professionals like Trent Duffy and Michele Davis.”

Trent Duffy Background

Duffy brings 30 years of communications, public affairs and campaign experience to SVC. Prior to founding HDMK, Duffy served in top positions in the White House, the U.S. Congress and in the private sector. Duffy worked for President George W. Bush as Deputy Assistant to the President and Deputy Press Secretary, serving as chief spokesperson for the president on economic policy, regulatory policy energy, health care, homeland security, telecommunications, taxes and trade. Duffy regularly conducted the Official White House Briefing for the White House press corps.

Prior to serving in the West Wing, Duffy was Communications Director to White House Office of Management and Budget (OMB) Director Mitch Daniels, where he developed and led government-wide communications strategies for the president’s budgets. Duffy also has extensive communications experience on Capitol Hill and in politics, working as Communications Director for the House Ways and Means Committee and as Press Secretary for the Republican National Committee.

Michele Davis Background

Davis recently worked as Global Head of Corporate Relations at Morgan Stanley, where she served as a member of the firm’s Management Committee. Prior to Morgan Stanley, Davis was a partner and co-head of the Washington, D.C. office for The Brunswick Group, a global consulting firm. Davis also served as Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs and Policy Planning for the U.S. Department of Treasury under Secretary Hank Paulson, leading Treasury Department communications during the 2008 global financial crisis and advising Secretary Paulson on messaging to markets and the American public.

Davis’s government service also includes work as Deputy Assistant to President George W. Bush and Deputy National Security Advisor for Strategic Communications as well as serving as Communications Director for the House Majority Leader. Davis has also served in the private sector as Senior Vice President for Regulatory Policy at Fannie Mae.

About Sard Verbinnen & Co. (“SVC”)

SVC is an independent strategic communications firm focused on supporting companies through complex, high stakes situations affecting reputation and value, including transactions, proxy contests, IPOs, litigations and crises. Headquartered in New York, SVC has offices in Washington, D.C, Boston, Chicago, Houston, San Francisco, Los Angeles, London and Hong Kong. The firm has over 200 employees, including more than 20 partners. SVC has been widely recognized for its leadership in its focus areas. In 2019, Mergermarket ranked SVC the #1 Global PR Firm by deal volume and value for the third consecutive year. The Holmes Report named SVC 2019 Financial PR Agency of the Year, and SVC is ranked by Chambers and Partners as a Top Tier, Band-1 PR Firm. For more information, please visit


Anna Cordasco/Andrew Cole


Anna Cordasco/Andrew Cole