Porter Novelli hires ex-Novartis PR boss Baird

NEW YORK: Porter Novelli has appointed a former PR boss at pharma giant Novartis to lead its New York healthcare team.

Greg Baird has joined Omnicom-owned PN as a partner and takes charge of around 60 staff. He replaces Kate Cronin who quit in June to become MD and co-head of Ogilvy PR Worldwide’s global health and medical practice (PRWeek, 18 June).

Baird left his former role as senior vice-president of comms at Novartis almost six months ago (PRWeek, 12 March). V-P of global media relations Bob Laverty is continuing to act in Baird’s role while the recruitment search for Baird’s permanent successor continues, according to a Novartis spokeswoman.

Prior to Novartis, Baird was V-P of corporate comms at Genentech. He has also formerly worked at drugs firms, including US giant Pfizer.

Senior V-Ps Kathy Lauri and Lisa Davidson had taken interim charge of Cronin’s duties at PN while agency chiefs embarked on the recruitment process that ended in Baird’s appointment.

Michael Durand remains PN global healthcare practice director.

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