Tobacco giant PMI names ex-pharma comms man Liam English as global PR chief

Global tobacco giant Philip Morris International (PMI) has hired former senior pharma industry, Department of Health and Cabinet Office comms figure Liam English as director corporate communications.

English (pictured) will report to Laure Thibaud, vice-president, comms, who joined PMI in March. His appointment is part of a communications restructure under Thibaud that followed the death earlier this year of Julie Soderlund, who was director of regulatory comms.

English’s previous roles include comms director at trade body The European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations, and associate comms director for Australia, Canada and Europe at pharma company Eli Lilly and Company.

Prior to that English worked in the public sector as deputy director of comms and head of media relations at the Office of Government Commerce (part of the Cabinet Office) and communications and press officer at the Department of Health. He was also a comms manager at the BBC and comms consultant at the European Commission.

Explaining his decision to move to the tobacco industry, English cited PMI’s focus on promoting "reduce-risk products", in particular moving away from combustible nicotine items.

English, whose new role is global, said: "Communications and corporate affairs will play a key role in PMI's mission... and it is a very exciting professional challenge that I have taken on."

His most recent role was at his eponymous agency Liam English Communications.

US-listed PMI owns Marlboro among other international brands, and is often cited as the second-largest firm in its industry.

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