UPS hires veteran lobbyist to lead public affairs unit

UPS has named a veteran financial and media sector lobbyist as the next head of its public affairs department in Washington DC. Laura Lane has most recently been managing director and head of international government affairs for finance giant Citi Group, and was previously vice president for global public policy at media powerhouse Time Warner.

She will succeed Arnie Wellman in leading the integrator’s DC public affairs operation. Wellman, who has been with UPS for 38 years, and led the public affairs office since 1992, is retiring.

The transition is set to be completed February 15, 2012.

Teri McClure, senior vice president for legal and compliance at UPS, said: “Arnie’s leadership and dedication to navigating the public affairs issues that affect UPS have ensured the company’s voice is heard and that UPS has the opportunity to prosper and grow.

“The company soon will look to Laura to provide that same type of leadership. She brings to UPS an incredibly broad range of global experience and that’s what a global company such as UPS requires,” added McClure.

Lane has a strong background in US government behind her, having spent seven years in the US Foreign Service in the 1990s, including postings in Colombia and Rwanda. She also had various responsibilities for bilateral trade affairs with Middle Eastern and Mediterranean countries as a US Trade Representative, including a role as US negotiator for the WTO Financial Services negotiations up to the first-ever global agreement in 1997.

In 1996 she was part of the State Department team that negotiated the first-ever global agreement on basic telecommunications.

Originally from Evanston, Illinois, Lane grew up in Frankfurt, Germany. She has a degree in political science and history from Loyola University and both a master’s in foreign service and certificate in business diplomacy from Georgetown University.

Lane said she was “excited” about the new chapter in her career. “I’m joining a world-class public affairs team that’s dedicated to opening new markets and advancing policies that help UPS serve its customers around the world.”

Wellman

UPS has been reducing its lobbying spending on Capitol Hill since it peaked at $8.4m in 2009, according to Congressional records. This year it has spent $2.6m directly and around $510,000 indirectly to press its case in Washington, having spent $5.6m directly and $1.2m via independent advocacy groups in 2010.

By comparison, its main rival FedEx has spent $6.7m directly on lobbying in Washington so far this year, again considerably down from its peak in 2009, when it spent $16.3m directly and a further $2.4m through external lobbyists.

In recent years, UPS has been working to improve its access rights for flights into China, Japan and Hong Kong, working to address night-time and noise restrictions on flights in Europe, and on the reform of US pension laws.

Under Wellman, the company has also worked to address the liberalisation of postal regulations around the world, on global efforts to address cargo security concerns, and initiatives to encourage use of alternative fuel vehicles, UPS said.

Wellman was appointed public affairs manager at UPS headquarters in Atlanta back in 1981, some eight years after joining the company as a package handler in New England. He served three terms as a state legislator in Connecticut during the 1980s, joining the UPS Metro DC office in 1986.

Returning to corporate headquarters in 1991, he was named corporate public affairs department manager a year later, and has led the unit ever since.

Commenting on his retirement, Wellman said: “It’s been an extraordinary honor to be associated with this company and to have helped represent its interests in the halls of government. As I prepare to retire, it’s great to know that UPS has attracted an individual with such credentials and talent as Laura to ensure our work continues at the highest professional level.”

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