Alejandro Orfila, former secretary general of the Organization of American States who joined Gray and Co. less than a year ago amid controversy, has left that job. His departure terminates a three-year, $1-million-plus contract.
Both Orfila and a spokesman for the public relations firm said yesterday that the termination was by mutual agreement.
"Everything was very amicable," said Orfila. "I just went to Bob [Gray] and told him that I wanted to work on some of my own projects. He was very, very nice."
Robert Keith Gray, who heads the largest public relations firm in the city and one that has considerable bipartisan clout, was out of the country and could not be reached for comment.
Gray and Orfila remain part of a group of Washington investors who have proposed building a $300 million rail line linking the West Falls Church Metro station with Washington Dulles International Airport. Orfila said yesterday that both their involvements in this project would continue.
Frank Mankiewicz, a Gray and Co. executive vice president, said, "The contract was terminated by mutual agreement. I think it was a mutual decision that it would be better if he were on his own."
Neither Mankiewicz nor Orfila would elaborate on any specific factors that may have played a part in the termination. Other persons involved with the company indicated that they could not talk about Orfila's departure.
Orfila's area of concern was international accounts.
Orfila and Mankiewicz said a financial arrangement was worked out on the termination of the contract. Neither would spell out the terms, but sources close to the deal say Gray and Co. paid Orfila about $250,000.
Orfila, a man known for his flamboyant style of entertaining both as Argentine ambassador and then at the OAS, was the object of an internal OAS investigation last year when it was learned that he was on Gray's payroll while still heading the OAS.
In a March 30 story, The Washington Post disclosed that Orfila had been receiving his $7,328 OAS monthly salary as well as a $25,000-a-month salary from his new employer for three months.
On April 12, the OAS formally reprimanded Orfila, calling his employment with Gray while still secretary general of OAS "censurable."