Healthcare: GCI Health loses MD after C&W merger

WPP has merged its Cohn & Wolfe (C&W) health team with its recently launched GCI Health offering.

The move has prompted the departure of GCI Health MD Paul Keirnan, whose role has been made redundant as a result of the merger.

The GCI Health brand was formed out of the merger of C&W and GCI this summer (PRWeek, 11 July). The three-strong outfit was launched as a conflict shop for C&W's healthcare clients.

Before the merger, Keirnan was MD of GCI's UK healthcare division. As MD for GCI Health, he was charged with spearheading pan-European development efforts.

Cohn & Wolfe MD Fiona Noble said: 'GCI Health was designed to cater for overlap and conflict in the healthcare business. We have taken the decision to merge GCI and C&W in the UK because GCI Health London only had a very small amount of health business and there was not any conflict.'

She added: 'By doing that we did not need an MD and the position became redundant.'

GCI Health's two other existing UK staff have been brought across to C&W's healthcare team.

GCI's clients, which include pharma firms Eli Lilly and Merck, have also been moved into C&W's health division.

Projects picked up recently by GCI Health include a brief with Johnson & Johnson to promote its gastric band surgery as a cost-effective obesity treatment (PRWeek, 4 September).

The agency is to provide medical education and comms support to the firm's bariatric surgery brands.

Keirnan only joined GCI eight months ago (PRWeek, 7 April). He was previously head of PR at advertising agency Sudler & Hennessey, where he established the company's PR offering.

He has also worked in-house at Boots, chemical company BASF and agency-side at Edelman.

Keirnan took over from GCI CEO Mark Cater, who had been leading the company's healthcare team since his arrival two years ago. Keirnan could not be reached at the time of going to press.

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