Healthcare: McNeil to hire for European comms

McNeil Nutritionals, part of Johnson & Johnson, is planning to bolster its UK-based PR activity by hiring a director of communications across Europe.

The firm, which is behind brands such as anti-cholesterol food brand Benecol and artificial sweetener Splenda, has called in headhunters to fill the role, which is understood to be newly created and based in London.

The role would also span women's health and J&J's ortho-urology areas and would report to US-based vice-president consumer and pharma and nutritionals comms Bonnie Jacobs, according to a brief circulated by a UK headhunter.

Jacobs declined to comment on plans to recruit for the role.

Marketing for Splenda has hit the headlines in the US, where McNeil has been challenged over the slogan 'Made from Sugar, So It Tastes Like Sugar'.

Critics accused the firm of misrepresenting Splenda in its advertising, but McNeil refuted the allegations and claimed it abides by the highest ethical standards. The Sugar Association has devoted a website - truthaboutsplenda.com - to its anti-Splenda stance.

McNeil Nutritionals' Benecol range includes products such as yoghurt drinks and a 'buttery-tasting' spread.

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