MarketKonnect

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Background

MarketKonnect is a subsidiary of APCO Worldwide and is based at the PR firm’s global headquarters in Washington DC.1

MarketKonnect LLC was registered in Delaware, US, in May 2019.2 Another branch of the firm was established in the District of Columbia, US, in February 2020.3

Margery Kraus, Executive Chairman of APCO, is also the executing officer and governor of MarketKonnect LLC.4.

Low profile

The company does not have a website and there is very little information about it in the public domain.5 It is not mentioned on the APCO website.6

Relationship with the Tobacco Industry

MarketKonnect’s parent company, APCO, has worked closely with the tobacco industry since it formed in 1984.7 You can read more on this history of close connection on our APCO page.

There are also long-standing links between Derek Yach, President of the Foundation for a Smoke-Free World (FSFW), and APCO. In 2014 he was appointed a member of the PR firm’s Health Advisory Board.8 Yach remained on the Board until 2018.9

Connection to China

Minutes from a special meeting of the FSFW’s board of directors in February 2019 state that APCO is the “lead group in managing the registration process in China” and has been asked to “charter and register the Foundation in China and establish the necessary governance, structural and staffing framework for the Foundation”.10

The minutes state: “Dr. Yach described how establishing the Foundation and its programs in China will be challenging and will require operating tightly and with great sensitivity”.10

In 2019, APCO subsidiary MarketKonnect was paid US$1,137,992 by the Foundation for “consulting services”.11 It is unclear whether this sum relates to the US$1.3 million the FSFW agreed to pay APCO in 2019 to “establish the Foundation in China.”12

Despite its subsidiary, MarketKonnect, receiving a contract with more than a million dollars from the FSFW, there is no mention of APCO directly in the Foundation’s 2019 tax return. Nor is there any description of APCO’s planned work in China on the Foundation’s website other than in its board minutes.11

Tobacco Tactics Resources

Foundation for a Smoke-Free World

APCO Associates

References

  1. US Department of Justice, Supplemental Statement Pursuant to the Foreign Agents Registration Act of 1938, 30 August 2019, accessed June 2020
  2. State of Delaware, Division of Corporations, undated, accessed June 2020
  3. OpenCorporates, MarketKonnect LLC, website, undated, accessed June 2020
  4. OpenCorporates, MarketKonnect LLC, website, undated, accessed June 2020
  5. Google, search page, undated, accessed June 2020
  6. APCO, search page, website, undated, accessed June 2020
  7. Sourcewatch, APCO Worldwide, last updated  25 December 2019, accessed June 2020
  8. APCO, Former Senior Vice President of Global Health and Agriculture Policy at PepsiCo Joins APCO’s International Advisory Council, news section of website, 3 December 2014, accessed June 2020
  9. Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, Derek Yach profile, website, undated, accessed June 2020
  10. abFoundation for a Smoke-Free World, Minutes of a Special Meeting of the Board of Directors, 12 February 2019, accessed June 2020
  11. abFoundation for a Smoke-Free World, Form 990-PF, 2019 Tax Return, 15 May 2020, accessed June 2020
  12. Foundation for a Smoke-Free World, Minutes of a Special Meeting of the Board, FSFW website, 24 May 2019, accessed June 2020