BGR was founded in 1991 when Ed Rogers left the White House and joined his longtime political friend Haley Barbour in a new lobbying enterprise on New Hampshire Avenue. With Barbour’s work in the Reagan White House, the two very quickly developed an Executive Branch-focused lobbying business. Following the 1992 elections, Lanny Griffith joined the firm to form the partnership that has undergone enormous change over the years but endures today as BGR Group.
Starting as an all-Republican firm in a town where Republicans were a scarce commodity, the firm built a loyal clientele some of whom are still working with the firm more than two decades later. The Clinton years were good for firm growth, and the period following the 1994 elections accelerated the pace, as BGR added new lobbyists to join the three original partners. Healthcare and state government affairs were driving the rapid growth, and in 1997 Haley Barbour returned to the firm following his stint as Chairman of the Republican National Committee. Soon after, the firm moved to Pennsylvania Avenue. By successfully taking on high profile clients, Fortune magazine ranked BGR as Washington’s No. 2 lobbying firm.
The Interpublic Group of Companies in New York bought BGR in 1999 although the principals all stayed in place and the firm continued to grow its thriving work on Capitol Hill. By then the firm was a major player in not only healthcare but also telecommunications, financial services, energy, and began working with Microsoft in their anti-trust battle with the Justice Department. With a new Administration and a new Democratic majority in the Senate, the lobbying business was intense. In May 2001, Fortune moved BGR to the top of its rankings, naming it the No. 1 lobbying firm in Washington.
After Haley Barbour’s successful run for Governor of Mississippi, the partners bought the firm back from IPG and embarked on a major restructuring. Within four years the firm doubled its revenue and the firm’s international practice carried the BGR brand to political and financial capitals around the world.
In 2008, in response to client requests for strategic communications results, BGR public relations was formed. Through its in-house expertise and key partnerships, BGR P.R. is able to offer clients a full suite of communications tools, across all media platforms.