Judith Cranford takes up the position this week, replacing Claire Martin, who left the agency late last year to take a role at pharma company Bayer Schering.
Cranford previously worked in Ruder Finn's US offices and rejoins the agency as managing director of health, advocacy and alliance development for its London office. She will report to UK managing director Nick Leonard.
She will oversee a team of 20 in the healthcare team. Part of Cranford's role will include working with the agency's US offices on global client campaigns.
Cranford joins from her role as MD of MS&L's health and advocacy business. She was promoted to the position at the start of last year.
She joined MS&L in 2007 to bolster the UK team after a series of departures, and was previously an independent consultant based in Washington DC.
Cranford is a former CEO of the National Osteoporosis Foundation (NOF) in the US.
At NOF, she was responsible for leading efforts to build greater understanding of osteoporosis prevalence,
prevention, diagnosis and treatment.
She also previously worked as healthcare business group director for Ruder Finn and at Edelman.
‘Judith's international background and extensive experience in advocacy, alliance management and CSR is significant for much of our healthcare work at Ruder Finn, both for corporate and on- profit clients,' said Leonard.
Ruder Finn has been without a head of healthcare since Martin departed in December. She took up a position in the global market access division of Bayer's headquarters in Germany.
Martin spent more than 12 years in the healthcare PR industry and worked on global, European and UK programmes for the pharmaceutical industry.