WPP-owned US marketing services group CommonHealth, which
represents 20 of the world’s top 30 pharmaceutical companies, is
expanding its operations in Europe by increasing its PR capability.
The move is heralded by the appointment this month of Hill and
Knowlton’s Gil Bashe as one of CommonHealth’s three vice-chairmen. Bashe
is executive managing director and worldwide director of the health and
pharmaceuticals practice at H&K.
The agency will now formally join the other WPP-owned members of
These include Ogilvy and Mather Healthcare, Thomas Ferguson Associates
and Health Learning Systems.
The companies continue to calculate their own profit and loss and are
directly retained by clients won through CommonHealth, but the group,
set up in 1992, has co-ordinators across the US and Europe.
Hill and Knowlton, a New York-based agency, has 49 offices in 29
H&K and CommonHealth had a combined turnover of just under pounds 440
million last year.
Bashe will work closely with John Zweig, CEO of specialist
communications at WPP. He will continue in his current post at H&K,
reporting to chairman Howard Paster.
He will be responsible for strategic planning at CommonHealth, helping
clients to assess where future opportunities lie and where the two
companies’ combined resources can make a difference.
CommonHealth’s current services include strategic planning, market
research, professional and patient education, advertising, and sales
promotion and training.
’It’s a logical next step to move out, in terms of public relations and
geographically,’ said Zweig.
He added: ’Clients demand that their advertising and public relations
agencies understand all the forces impacting the health industry and how
they interact, from professional marketing to consumer choice and public
policy. Success depends on our ability to deliver across various
disciplines and geographical borders.’