Pearson leaves GCI to take over worldwide comms at Novartis AG

NEW YORK: Bob Pearson, president of the Americas for GCI, has resigned after being named head of worldwide communications for Swiss drug maker Novartis AG. He replaces Dr. Dieter Wisler, who recently retired. GCI does not plan to name a successor to Pearson in the near future.

NEW YORK: Bob Pearson, president of the Americas for GCI, has resigned after being named head of worldwide communications for Swiss drug maker Novartis AG. He replaces Dr. Dieter Wisler, who recently retired. GCI does not plan to name a successor to Pearson in the near future.

Pearson's new post, which he will assume on October 1, will see him based at the company's headquarters in Basel, Switzerland.

Novartis is one of the world's largest pharmaceutical concerns, with products that include high-blood-pressure treatments Diovan and Lotrel, cholesterol treatment Lescol, and antifungal drug Lamisil.

The pharmaceutical company also recently hired Steve Kelmar as its new head of public affairs. Kelmar, who will become Pearson's boss, was also named to the drug giant's eight-person executive committee.

Pearson said it was too early to discuss the specifics of his new role, but cited internal and external communications, branding, and internet strategies as potential areas of concentration.

While at GCI, Pearson also served as chair of the firm's worldwide healthcare practice. AnnaMaria DeSalva, North American healthcare practice head, will now be the agency's

most senior-ranking healthcare executive.

Prior to joining GCI, Pearson was with RPR (now Aventis) from 1992 to 1998, and Ciba-Geigy (one of the two companies that merged to form Novartis) from 1986 to 1992.

On moving to Basel with his family, Pearson said, "That was part of the draw - for my family to have the opportunity to live in the center of Europe."

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