Aluminum giant Alcoa’s spinoff into two companies is slated to take effect Tuesday — and the new company, Arconic, already has a Washington lobbyist.
Arconic has tapped Russ Thomasson, former chief of staff to Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn (R-Tex.), to serve as the company’s first hired gun on K Street. Thomasson left the leadership office in 2015 and now works at Cassidy & Associates, the lobbying firm that rose to prominence as a leading appropriations shop under legendary Democratic lobbyist Gerald Cassidy.
Alcoa announced in 2015 that it would split into two companies this year. One, Alcoa, would remain in the aluminum mining and smelting business. The second, Arconic, would focus on the more lucrative business of manufacturing metal goods for the aerospace and auto sectors, such as parts used in military aircraft and jet engines. The spinoff was largely executed so that Alcoa, which had been struggling because of the low price of raw aluminum, could boost its stock value.
Arconic will be competing for defense contracts, as it is inheriting that division of the business from Alcoa, Thomasson said. Alcoa, for example, has an estimated $1.1 billion contract with Lockheed Martin to supply titanium for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
Thomasson said the company’s priority on Capitol Hill right now is reaching out to legislators who had a major Alcoa presence in their districts and letting them know they may now be Arconic facilities.
“The first thing they want to do is tell their story and get their brand out there,” Thomasson said. “Everyone is familiar with the name Alcoa. But Arconic is a new name.”
Correction: A previous version of this story misidentified the spinoff. It is Alcoa, not Arconic. This version has been corrected.