Ask the Government

• Ask the Government

1st South Eastern European Government Communication Conference (SEECOM)

Keynote Speakers


Mike Granatt

Mike Granatt – CB FCIPR. Co-ordinator of the Club of Venice


Mike is one of the United Kingdom’s most experienced and senior practitioners and trainers in crisis management, government communication, and communication strategy, holding some of the most senior communication posts in the UK Government for nearly 20 years. He is now a director of Luther Pendragon, a leading City of London consultancy.

He is the Co-ordinator of the Club of Venice, which brings together the heads of government communication for the Member and Candidate States of the EU; and the major European institutions. 

From 1998 to 2003, Mike was Director-General of the Government Information and Communication Service in the Cabinet Office. He founded and led the Civil Contingencies Secretariat, the UK’s central civil crisis management unit. 

Between 1986 and 1998, Mike had been director of communication for five Cabinet Ministers (both Conservative and Labour), and for London’s Police Commissioner. 

Mike is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Security and Resilience Studies at University College London. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations, holding its highest professional award, the Sir Stephen Tallents Medal. He is a Past Master of the City of London Guild of Public Relations Practitioners.

In 2001, Her Majesty the Queen appointed Mike Granatt a Companion of the Bath for exceptional public service. 
John Verrico

John Verrico - Director of Professional Development for the National Association of US Government Communicators

John Verrico is the Director of Professional Development for the National Association of Government Communicators and has more than 30 years of experience as a public affairs professional in federal and state government agencies, working extensively in media, community and employee relations.

A retired U.S. Navy Reserve Master Chief Journalist, John was previously a freelance journalist and a communications and marketing consultant for small businesses. He is also a professional trainer on communications and leadership.

Mr. Verrico earned his Master’s of Science in Organisational Leadership from Norwich University and a Bachelor of Science in communications from the University of the State of New York. He has received many awards for professional excellence, including being named one of the Top 5 Event Managers of 1998 by Exhibitor Magazine.

He also serves on the leadership boards for the Federal Communicators Network and the U.S. Navy Public Affairs Alumni Association.


Anna Maria Darmanin

Anna Maria Darmanin, Vice-President of the European Economic and Social Committee

Anna Maria Darmanin is one of the two Vice Presidents of the EESC, she is responsible for Communication and has been elected into the post since October 2010 for a mandate of two and a half years. Representing Malta in the EESC since 2004, Anna Maria is part of the Trade Union Group within the EESC, representing CMTU and UHM.

In Malta Anna Maria is a council member of the Union Haddiema Maqudin and also of the Confederation of Trade Unions (the organisations she represents at the EESC). She is a Training and Development expert and has also been a partner in various EU funded projects related to People Development, Communication and Innovation.

She is also a visiting lecturer to the University of Malta within the Faculty of Knowledge and Media Management; and a tutor to the Henley Business School of the University of Reading.

Prior to being actively involved within the EESC, Anna Maria held directorship of various companies particularly social enterprises and was also involved in a number of NGOs.

Anna Maria is a graduate in Communication Studies and also obtained her Master of Arts in Human Resource Development from the University of Malta.