Alliance UniChem appoints Romestan for Euro PR push

FTSE 100-listed pharmaceutical products firm Alliance UniChem has hired Yves Romestan as director of corporate communications for the UK and Europe.

Romestan, who will start next week, joins from France-based construction giant Bouygues, and takes a newly created post as Alliance UniChem aims to better co-ordinate its PR across Europe.

IR director Gerald Gradwell said Romestan had been hired after a nine-month recruitment process to 'pull the comms activities together' for the group, which is a pan-European distributor, wholesaler and retailer of pharma and healthcare products.

Since Alliance UniChem was formed in 1997 through the merger of UniChem and Alliance Sante, it has entered the Dutch, Norweigan, Swiss and Turkish markets.

It is 'seeking opportunities to expand the network' in other European countries, including central and eastern Europe, according to Gradwell.

Gradwell, who joined two years ago from a director role at Gavin Anderson's London office, said: 'In many markets people can perceive wholesalers that own retail pharmacies as having a conflict of interest with independent pharmacists. This is not the case.'

'The comms challenge in the rest of Europe is to educate the market on the benefits of chain pharmacies,' he added.

In respect of internal comms, Gradwell said the group had been 'drastically lacking' someone to co-ordinate initiatives such as a best-practice programme.

In the UK the firm retains Gavin Anderson for financial PR and Nexus Communications' healthcare division for pharmacy trade press and issues management work.

Romestan will be based at the group's UK head office in Weybridge, where he will build an in-house PR team from zero to around five.

Overall in continental Europe the group employs around 25 communications staff, some of whom may now relocate to Weybridge.

At Bouygues, Romestan will be replaced by Christophe Morange, who has been promoted internally.

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