Craig L. Fuller, a former top Reagan and Bush administration aide before cutting a swath through the lobbying world, is joining the National Association of Chain Drug Stores as president and chief executive.

Although he's planning to walk through the trade association's Alexandria headquarters and meet folks there today, Fuller will take over Nov. 1. The position has been filled on an interim basis by Robert W. Hannan, a former chairman of the group's board and retired vice chairman of Eckerd Drugs, since February when Ronald L. Ziegler, Richard M. Nixon's former press secretary, retired suddenly. Hannan will continue at NACDS through the end of the year to assist in the transition.

Fuller most recently has been managing director and chairman of Global Board Services at Korn/Ferry International in Washington. After leaving the White House, Fuller served as president of the Wexler Group and then as president of U.S. operations of Hill and Knowlton, which acquired the lobby shop. In 1992, he left for Philip Morris Cos., where he was senior vice president for corporate affairs. He also was chairman of the 1992 Republican National Convention.

He was vice chairman of Burson-Marsteller before leaving for the executive search company, Korn/Ferry, where he told potential recruits that "that if you like public policy, Washington trade associations are a great place to be."

"I was eager to get back into public policy," Fuller said in an interview yesterday. "This is an industry on the front line of medical care every day. They deserve a real seat at the table."

Although he's clearly identified with the Republican side of town, Fuller notes that he has strong relationships with Democrats as well. "In this Congress and probably in future Congresses, it'll be important to build consensus on both sides of the aisle," he said.

Hannan agrees, saying Fuller's "political ties are important. It's important to know the process and have relationships in both parties."

Although with his new job, Fuller says he won't get involved with any particular presidential campaign, he does plan to remain active in Republican affairs.

Big issues for the chain drug stores: a congressional study on how to deal with the growing shortage of pharmacists and legislation to expand prescription drug coverage for the needy under Medicare.

Clarke, DuVal to Hill and Knowlton

Hill and Knowlton is also crowing about its major hires. Victoria "Torie" Clarke, who has been president of Bozell/Eskew, the political advocacy advertising agency, for less than a year, is signing on as general manager of the Washington office of Hill and Knowlton.

Clarke, who was vice president for public affairs and strategic counsel for the National Cable Television Association, has strong Republican ties: She was assistant to the U.S. trade representative during the Bush administration and press secretary to Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.).

On the Democratic side, Fred DuVal, a veteran operative and former deputy director of the Clinton White House office of intergovernmental affairs, did some fund-raising for Vice President Gore in Arizona and concluded his deal yesterday to sign on shortly at Hill and Knowlton, as a senior managing director.

"They are two of the most serious players in the city," said Thomas Hoog, president and chief executive of Hill and Knowlton U.S.

Clarke, who'll be moving over in a couple of weeks, says her plans so far are to make Hill and Knowlton "bigger and better."

O'Neill Acquired by International Firm

McDermott/O'Neill & Associates, the Washington-Boston-Providence public affairs and lobby shop founded by Thomas P. O'Neill III, son of the late House speaker, is being acquired by GPC International, a public affairs and strategic communications company with offices in 16 countries.

O'Neill has been named chief executive of GPC's operations in the United States, GPC announced yesterday. A spokesman for the company said the acquisition is GPC's first move into the United States.

"We can now provide to our clients unmatched public affairs and strategic communications services in the United States, Europe and Canada," Hershell Ezrin, chief executive of GPC International, said in a statement.

O'Neill's shop has lobbied on behalf of Raytheon Co., Sun Microsystems, Bechtel Inc., Sovereign Bank, the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico, Boston University Medical Center and others.

Richard Allen to Counsel APCO

Richard V. Allen, the former national security adviser to President Ronald Reagan, joins APCO Associates, the public affairs and strategic communications company, as senior counselor, as well as continuing his own international business consulting company. He'll advise APCO clients on business matters in Europe and Asia and says he doesn't plan to lobby in Washington.

Also at APCO, Peter Goelz, who was managing director of the National Transportation Safety Board, is delaying his start at the company, where he's supposed to become worldwide director of crisis communications.

Apparently, the White House asked him to first do some troubleshooting at the upcoming World Trade Organization meeting in Seattle.

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