She replaces Fiona Kerrel-Vaughan who left at the end of last year and is emigrating to Australia.
Rutherford ends her eight-year stint at Astra-Zeneca, where she held various comms posts, to join Roche as the pharmaceutical industry intensifies lobbying on several fronts.
Roche is expected to be active on the issue of supplying cheaper medicines to developing countries, as the firm makes therapies for HIV/Aids, Hepatitis C and cancer treatments.
In a separate development, Roche has drafted in Synopsis Communications Consultants for a three-month review of its internal communications, following the closure of its UK drug manufacturing facilities.
The internal review by Synopsis began towards the end of last year at the firm’s global clinical trials centre in Welwyn Garden City in Hertfordshire, where 1,500 staff are based.
Roche is aiming to gauge levels of staff understanding of management objectives at the centre through a series of focus groups. This follows senior management interviews that were conducted before Christmas, according to Roche corporate affairs manager Ruth Blakey.