GSK lures Shell’s Rae to head lobbying in the UK

GlaxoSmithKline has poached Shell UK external affairs manager Stephen Rae to be the top lobbyist for its UK pharmaceuticals business.

Rae joins at the beginning of November and will report to GSK UK director of external affairs Neil McCrae. He fills a post left vacant since the start of the year, when Andrew Topen left for rival Pfizer (PRWeek, 14 January).

McCrae said Rae's brief would be to 'manage public affairs and policy and prescribe strategy for the UK pharmaceutical business'. He will oversee a team of four, including Natalie de Lima, who joined a fortnight ago from Portcullis Public Affairs to become senior government affairs and policy manager.

GSK has a separate government affairs function that deals with group-level corporate issues. It is also based in the UK and headed by Chris Strutt.

Rae has been at Shell for the past two years as one of two external affairs managers reporting to head of UK external affairs Dermot Grimson. He has been responsible for UK government relations and represented the company on the recent Trade & Industry Select Committee inquiry into fuel prices.

Grimson said he was overseeing the recruitment of Rae's successor, beginning with an internal search.

GSK launched the pharma industry's first clinical trial register 12 months ago, in which it made publicly available the results of clinical trials of marketed medicines. Aside from its core pharmaceuticals business, GSK has a robust consumer products offering, ranging from soft drinks such as Ribena and Lucozade to toothpastes and smoking cessation products.

* Shell has handed executive V-P (chemicals) of HR Mike Wilkinson its top group PA role – V-P of policy and issues – effective from 1 October. He replaces Robin Aram, who is retiring after ten years with Shell.

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