If anything, the links between Teneo and Clinton have become even more entwined since.
That is hardly surprising, the president of Teneo is Clinton’s long-time aide Doug Band who is credited with creating the Clinton post-presidency aura which has seen him rise to become the most popular politician in America.
Kelly also raises considerable sums for the Clinton foundation and served as Hillary Clinton’s economic envoy to Northern Ireland for two years and remains close to the former First Lady.
Teneo was also in the headlines recently because it advised the disgraced former New Jersey governor Jon Corzine whose company MF Global recently went bankrupt on the back of disastrous derivative trading.
Kelly is quick to point out that such advice consisted only of monitoring economic trends and preparing a report each morning for Corzine and they were not involved in any trading issues
Either way Corzine is firmly in the rear view mirror for Teneo as their client list rapidly expands.
Coke CEO Muktar Kent is one of Teneo’s clients, recommended by Donald Keough, the former Coca Cola president, who still plays a hugely influential role in that company as a major shareholder and board member.
Keough, a legendary figure in American business and currently chairman of major investment bank Allen and Company, has unabashed admiration for Declan Kelly and how he has burst on the scene in corporate America.
“I’ve wandered around in the world of consultants for a very long time he says from his office in Atlanta “and Kelly is the best.”
“He is simply a great problem solver” he says, You know how many people can tell you what your problems are but never how to solve them?
‘He gets to the core of the problem in a moment and he has the intellectual honesty to tell it straight to his clients, to tell the unvarnished truth but he will never do so without having a proposed
solution as well.”
High praise indeed, for a former journalist for the Nenagh Guardian who has leapfrogged from obscurity to a major place at the corporate table in America.
How did Kelly reach such lofty heights? In a dizzying series of maneuvers, Kelly sold his successful PR firm in Dublin run with Jackie Gallagher for $15 million at the beginning of the Celtic Tiger to Financial Dynamics, a major American communications company, a move
that brought Kelly to the US in 2001.
Kelly then turned around in July 4th 2003 and bought out FD for $43.5 million in a management buyout and turned it into a major player in the PR and consulting world.
Then in 2006 FTI Consulting, one of the biggest fish in the business, acquired FD for $340 million, then the largest price ever paid for a communications firm.
It was considered likely that Kelly would eventually run FTI but he soon became restless and through the Clinton connection was offered the economic envoy to Northern Ireland job in September 2009 which he took while serving out a 2-year non-compete clause with FTI.
He won widespread respect in Northern Ireland for his efforts to promote inward investment even grudgingly from political leaders who found him refreshingly direct in telling them to get the finger out and forget the outmoded practices and dependency on government.
During his tenure major U.S. corporations including Citi, NYSE, Seagate, Dow Chemical, GE Energy and others announced they were creating new jobs there.
He also played a major role in securing the recent Clinton-led economic conference on Ireland in America
Kelly himself is utterly at home in the cutthroat environment in America. He is known not to suffer fools willingly and is clearly a young man in hurry.
He has also fundraised major amounts for organizations such as the children’s hospital in Crumlin and the American Ireland Funds, as well as several non-Irish charities.
But it his connection and bond to President Clinton that has opened up major avenues to him.
In a business where power and influence is everything he has the 800-pound gorilla in his corner.