Kasich confidant takes next job mixing public policy and private business

A longtime John Kasich confidant and driving force behind JobsOhio has taken a managing director position with one of the world’s largest public strategy firms.
Jay Chabria stepped down as senior advisor to Gov. Kasich in February. Chabria handled personnel issues and was integral in the governor’s role in shaping leadership across Ohio by appointing university trustees, state school board members and other governing board members.

Public strategy firm Mercury, a subsidiary of Omnicom Group, announced Friday that Chabria will come on board. The company, boasting 300 clients, supports a wide range of public and private firms, from nonprofits foundations and think tanks — like the free-market minded Manhattan Institute and the social-justice, grant-making Ford Foundation — to emerging tech firms like UBER and AirBNB or the mainstays of Silicon Valley like Ebay and Microsoft.

“There is no doubt that Jai’s public and private sector experience will be a tremendous asset for our clients and help us hit the ground running as we build our business in Ohio,” said Mike DuHaime, one of the many partners at Mercury.
Chabria, a resident of the Columbus suburb of Powell, will remain close to the state capitol.

Chabria followed Kasich for two decades bouncing between public office and private practice, whether in banking or consultancy.

After working Kasich’s campaigns for U.S. Congress, Chabria joined his boss in Columbus as the two comprised an Ohio office for Lehman Brothers, a banking giant that collapsed in 2008 signalling the beginning of a national economic crash.
Chabria later found and hired Kasich’s cabinet as governor. Earlier in the governorship, Chabria guided the formation of JobsOhio, a privatized economic development arm that has been exempted from public disclosure. Chabria also was a go-between for the administration and the legislature during critical moments, including crisis situations, public controversies and the perennial clashes of crafting a state budget.

Chabria left the governor’s office in February, as Kasich mounted a distant second place finish in New Hampshire, his best showing until his single win in Ohio in March. Since then, Chabria has worked for Ohio Republican Party chair Matt Borges, a close Kasich ally, in planning the national convention in Cleveland this year.
“I’m excited about joining such a well-respected firm and helping Mercury expand its presence here in Ohio,” Chabria said in a company release.  “Having been fortunate to have worked at the highest level of state government, I’m looking forward to using my business background and crisis management experience to help clients achieve success.”

Doug Livingston can be reached at 330-996-3792 ordlivingston@thebeaconjournal.com. Follow on Twitter: @ABJDoug.