MPAA lobbyist Feehery exits

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WASHINGTON -- The MPAA is losing its chief lobbyist. The trade group said Wednesday that John Feehery is stepping down from his position as executive vp worldwide government affairs, effective immediately, and will become a consultant to the organization.

MPAA chairman and CEO Dan Glickman said he is taking over Feehery's responsibilities.

"John joined the MPAA during a period of great change for our organization and our industry," Glickman said. "He helped to fashion legislative support for a variety of measures of importance to our membership and in doing so brought valuable skills, insights and understanding about the legislative process. We are grateful for his service and glad that he will serve as a consultant to us as he considers his next challenge."

Feehery was a long-term Republican operative in Congress, working as spokesman for then-House Speaker Dennis Hastert, R-Ill., before moving to the MPAA. Feehery's GOP credentials were thought to strengthen the trade association's ties with Republicans, who had dominated Congress for the past 12 years before the 2006 elections put the Democrats back in control. Glickman is a former Democratic congressman and was President Clinton's agriculture secretary.

Feehery is leaving to start a consulting firm.

"This has been a difficult decision for me, but this is the right time for me to open my own strategic consulting firm," he said. "This is something I have wanted to do for a long time, and I am looking forward to the challenge of starting a small business. The MPAA is a great institution that occupies a special place in Washington. I am proud to have been a part of the MPAA and grateful to Dan for the opportunity to work alongside him. I wish him and the organization well."

Feehery joined the MPAA in 2005. It was unclear whether or when or he will be replaced. Glickman will directly manage the worldwide government affairs and lobbying priorities for the MPAA.

Glickman said in a recent interview that his relationships with lawmakers puts the association in a good strategic position to push the industry's priorities.

"There is probably nobody -- I'm not a boastful person -- nobody better sit to represent this industry before government than I am right now," he said. "Being in the cabinet and Congress, not only do I have more relationships, but I have more friends there on both sides of the aisle than anyone I can think of, so my skill is to develop those relationships and work them to our advantage. I don't think anybody has those relationships better than I do."
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