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Celebrating 35 Years

For 35 years, APCO has partnered with corporations, nonprofits, foundations and governments to provide counsel and help them succeed during transformative times. Here is the story of our beginnings as a firm and the milestones that propelled us to where we are today. Each snapshot in history will give you a glimpse into what made us who we are and how we continue to evolve to better help our clients succeed and deliver impact.

In 1984, Margery Kraus founded APCO as a consulting affiliate to the law firm, Arnold & Porter, with the first office established in Washington, D.C. 

Dedicated to doing things differently, in 1989, APCO opened its first international office in Moscow before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

In 1991, APCO became part of Grey Global Group, allowing it to accelerate its growth internationally and bring a more creative perspective to its work. 

In the mid 1990s, APCO continued to expand overseas and built offices in Brussels, London, Hong Kong and Beijing. 

With the rise of the internet, APCO launched its Online (1996) and Creative practices (2001) to develop targeted, impactful solutions for its clients.  Through the years, APCO has created offerings including the AI Comms Lab driven out of our Dubai office; Telescope, a tool for influencer mapping and engagement; and emPower, a digital crisis simulation. 

In 1998, APCO Insight was established to better integrate research and insights into the firm’s work. Through the years, Insight served as a key generator of the firm’s intellectual property, developing products like Emotional Linking, TradeMarksSonar and Campfire, and ways of thinking around corporate brand with Champion Brand and Agility Edge. Insight continues to think boldly by infusing its work with digital insights and data analytics as it explores the benefits of machine learning and other technologies. 

In 2004, after doubling its revenue and more than a decade as an affiliate of Grey Global Group, APCO became an independent firm at a time when other firms were consolidating. 

In 2005, not long after becoming independent, APCO’s geographic footprint reached 20 offices in 14 countries.  

In 2006, APCO opened in Indiaone of the world’s fast-growing and crucial markets, to provide an integrated service offering to multinationals and Indian companies expanding overseas. 

APCO was granted WBENC’s National Women’s Business Enterprise Certification in 2006, certifying the business is woman-owned, operated and controlled.

In 2006, APCO created an International Advisory Council (IAC) of global leaders that helped deliver on its promise to clients to be the place to go when they cannot afford to fail. Today, the IAC comprises four targeted subgroups and more than 100 former elected politicians; leaders of business and industry; academics at leading universities; world-class journalists and editors; NGO and nonprofit pioneers; diplomats; and policy experts. 

APCO launched its operations in the Middle East in 2006, starting in Dubai. Today, there are over 200 people from 26 countries working in teams across Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Riyadh, Manama, Kuwait and Muscat. 

In 2008, APCO hit $100 million in revenue.

APCO signed on to the UN Global Compact in 2010 and launches the APCO Gives Back Initiative to engrain ethics, integrity and accountability into its leadership and workforce. APCO continues to champion unity and progress in communities around the world. Read our latest report here.

In 2010, APCO is named Public Affairs Agency of the Decade by the Holmes Report.

In 2015, Brad Staples was appointed CEO and in an effort to renew its focus on leadership, the Global Leadership Team was launched 

That same year, a program designed specifically for college graduates entering the workforce was created at APCO’s headquarters in Washington, D.C., called APCO+This 18month program provides training, mentorship and experience for entry level professionals. 

APCO is recognized by experts in the industry for producing outstanding client work and providing one of the best work environments. Our monthly newsletter, Stay Ahead, provides a look at global trends from our top experts. APCO was named EMEA Corporate Consultancy of the Year by the The Holmes Report, Best Agency in the Middle East/North Africa by PRWeek and Japan/Korea Consultancy of the Year by Campaign Asia. APCO also won top workplace honors from PR News and The Holmes Report.

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