Former Prudential comms boss Jane Atkin has been drafted in to cover the strategic duties undertaken by Callaghan on a full time, interim basis.
The move comes as a surprise as Callaghan was expected to return to her post after a period of sick leave following an operation.
Stephen Whitehead, ABPI's chief executive told PR Week on Monday that the move was ‘just cover while Amanda is off’ adding he ‘didn’t know how long for’.
Callaghan said in a statement: ‘After nearly two years at the ABPI I have decided that it's time for me to move on. The challenge of building the new corporate affairs team has been immensely rewarding and I have really enjoyed working with the members.
‘The team has gone from strength to strength and we have started to make a real difference. As a relative newcomer I can safely say that I have developed the highest regard for the pharmaceutical industry during my short time at the ABPI and very much hope it continues to flourish.’
The ABPI will now start a recruitment process to find a permanent replacement for Callaghan, who headed up a nine-strong comms team.
Whitehead paid tribute to Callaghan’s ‘huge contribution’, saying: ‘She has built our corporate affairs function from scratch and their work has been highly effective and very much valued by all our members. We’ll especially miss Amanda and her contribution to the ABPI at leadership level where her clarity of thinking, strategic leadership and management skills have been invaluable.’
Whitehead told PRWeek that Atkin will act as a full-time senior consultant, while day-to-day campaigns work will be undertaken by the organisation’s in-house team in conjunction with Virgo Health.
Whitehead, who joined the ABPI in 2011, knows Atkin from his time at Prudential where he was group comms director, and she was director of corporate comms. The pair also overlapped at Barclays, where Atkin was director of corporate comms and Whitehead the group corporate affairs director.
Callaghan and Whitehead have been credited with helping the ABPI shake off its fusty image, dubbed that of an ‘old Volvo’, with a series of interventions on health policy and pharma stories.