Robert Tappan

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Robert Tappan is the President of the Washington, D.C. office of the PR company, Burson-Marsteller. Tappan was appointed to the position in July 2006 with a brief to "oversee the firm's Washington office, as well as the activities of Direct Impact, its wholly-owned grassroots specialty firm based in Alexandria, VA" (Virginia).[1] In October 2007, Associated Press reported that Tappan was "one of the Burson-Marsteller executives" working on the account of beleaguered military contracting company Blackwater.[2]


Prior to his appointment, Tappan worked as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs. A biographical note states that he "was sworn in as Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Public Affairs in 2002." It also states that "from January 2004 through June 2004, Mr. Tappan served in Baghdad as Director of Strategic Communications for the Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA). In this position, Mr. Tappan oversaw a staff of over 100 military and civilian employees and set the overall communication strategy for the CPA, encompassing everything from media relations to executing nation-wide public information campaigns. For his service in Iraq, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld awarded Mr. Tappan one of the highest Defense Department’s civilian honors, the Secretary of Defense Medal for Outstanding Public Service. Mr. Tappan was also the recipient of the Department of State’s Superior Honor Award."[3]

"Prior to entering government service, Mr. Tappan worked for several public affairs and government relations firms providing strategic communications counsel, public affairs, and reputation management consulting to clients in the corporate, association, and not-for-profit sectors."[3] His Burson-Marsteller biographical note stated that the most recent of these positions was as "Senior Vice President at Powell Tate, the Washington, D.C. flagship public affairs unit of Weber Shandwick, where he headed business development activities and oversaw public affairs and high-tech client accounts."[1]

Prior to joining the PR industry, Tappan worked during the mid-1980s "as a staffer in the Editorial Department of The Washington Post. He has given numerous radio and television interviews, and has appeared on ABC’s Nightline, NBC’s Nightly News with Tom Brokaw and the CBS Evening News with Dan Rather," the biographical note states.[3]

Contact Details

1110 Vermont Avenue, NW, Suite 1200
Washington, DC 20005-3554
Phone: 202-530-0400
Fax: 202-530-4500

Articles and Resources


  1. 1.0 1.1 "Burson-Marsteller Names Robert Tappan President Of Washington, D.C. Operations", Media Release, June 12, 2006.
  2. Richard Lardner, "Blackwater hires PR giant in image seige", Associated Press, October 5, 2007.
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 "Biography of Robert Tappan: Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary of State", U.S. Department of State Bureau of Public Affairs, February 2006.

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