Novartis Consumer Health, the OTC division of the world’s
second-largest pharmaceutical company, has poached DHL’s European PR
chief Chris King to be director of international communications and
King has been appointed for his consumer PR experience to help the firm
change its marketing focus from doctors to consumers. He will instigate
a wide-ranging review of the company’s communications strategy for
brands including Nicotinell, Savlon and Lypsyl. The company does not
currently employ PR agencies to promote its brands.
’My brief is to review the whole way in which communications is
currently handled,’ he said. ’With more and more pharmaceutical products
becoming available over the counter, branding has become much more
important in consumer health.’
NCH is one of 8 sectors within Novartis, and accounts for up to 7 per
cent of turnover, equivalent to dollars 1.2 billion.
The company was formed after Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz announced plans to
merge 18 months ago. Novartis hired Ruder Finn to co-ordinate its world
wide launch in January.
From 1 July King moves to NCH’s headquarters in Geneva, where he reports
to John Burke, NCH senior vice president responsible for human resources
King’s responsibilities are external and internal communication,
including Intranet development.
He has been head of communications for Europe and Africa at courier
company DHL since 1993. He was responsible for creating, implementing
and co-ordinating brand communications for over 100 countries.
Communications at DHL will now be handled by the company’s new marketing
manager for Europe and Africa, Ed Vermeulen. Vermeulen joins from
Procter and Gamble, where he worked in brand management.