Pythia Public Affairs Hires Ben Branham as Managing Director + Chief Operating Officer

BROOKLYN, NY (07/21/2022) (readMedia)-- Pythia Public Affairs today announced the hiring of industry leader Ben Branham into the new role of Managing Director and Chief Operating Officer. Branham starts this week, and will serve as a senior lead on client engagements as well as driving sustainable growth and new service areas for the firm as it continues to expand.

He can be reached at

Branham most recently served as the Chief Communications Officer of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, a role he has held since January 2018. In this capacity he worked closely with the Port Authority's leadership team of Chairman Kevin O'Toole and Rick Cotton to reposition the agency as it undertook an unprecedented $37 billion capital plan of delivering new, world-class infrastructure across the region, most notably with the near completion of the transformed LaGuardia Airport, whose new Terminal C opened to wide acclaim last month. Branham built and bolstered the marketing and communications functions of the agency by recruiting strong talent, implementing new tools and functionality, enhancing and broadening content, and deploying an integrated, research-backed approach to using communications to advance core objectives. This included the Port Authority's revitalized brand and visual identity – modified for the first time in decades – a vastly improved corporate website and other digital tools, and a more robust, strategic, and interactive social media presence that is now integrated with the agency's customer care operation including real-time responsiveness and analytics. He also led and bolstered the agency's internal communications throughout the pandemic and as it undertook comprehensive efforts to address issues of systemic racism and internal race dynamics.

"Ben comes to Pythia at a pivotal time as the firm takes on new challenges in a dynamic landscape. He's not only a widely respected leader who brings a rich array of both private and public experience to the table, but his deep understanding of complex organizations and policy expertise will help further cement Pythia as the consultancy of choice for campaigns of substance that empower citizens and communities. We are especially excited by his vision for how to make government and civic life better for more people, because that's what Pythia is all about," said Evan Thies and Alexis Grenell, Co-Founders of Pythia Public Affairs.

"What's most exciting about Pythia is that it's creating a new model for how a firm in this industry can work – namely with an approach that's policy-driven and fueled by expertise in media, strategy and politics," said Branham. "That's an attractive advantage for many organizations and corporations who are seeking partners that are truly steeped in their issues, making their counsel and execution all the more valuable whether it pertains to integrated campaigns, brand development, coalition building or paid media. And on top of that, they have two of the smartest, most creative and admired founders you're going to find in this line of work."

Prior to the Port Authority, Branham was an Executive Vice President for Edelman's Corporate and Public Affairs practice in New York, where he led business development, operations and served as senior counsel to a variety of major foundations, universities, nonprofits and Fortune 500 clients. He also served in the administration of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, holding multiple roles in the New York City Economic Development Corporation including those of Chief Strategy Officer and Chief of Staff, leading initiatives to grow the city's tech industry and other strategic growth sectors as well as managing a number of prominent public approvals for major initiatives such as the Cornell Tech applied sciences campus on Roosevelt Island. He obtained his master's in public policy from the Harvard Kennedy School but is a native of the Midwest, where grew up outside Chicago and received his BA from the University of Illinois. Today he lives in Brooklyn with his wife Sarah, a public defender, and two adorable children.

About Pythia

Pythia Public Affairs is a full-service public affairs and strategy firm focused on delivering wins for issue-based advocacy organizations, companies and politicians.

We are proud of the work we do every day. Our clients include pioneering non-profits, Fortune 500 companies and candidates for offices representing millions of New Yorkers, including the mayor of New York. For these clients and others we align all aspects of an effort so that strategy, messaging and media work together to achieve the client's goals.

City & State recently named Pythia the most powerful public affairs firm in New York.

Check out our website for more information about what we do.