Healthcare: GSK appoints comms chief as part of refocus

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline has hired a new comms chief as part of a broader move to put comms at the core of its consumer brands.

As part of the shake-up, InterContinental Hotels Group's (IHG) senior vice-president of global corporate affairs Leslie McGibbon has been appointed to head up the consumer healthcare comms team.

The appointment comes as GSK seeks to refocus comms efforts on household brands such as Panadol, Aquafresh, Lucozade and Gaviscon.

A spokesperson for GSK said the firm would be 'investing in major brands and pursuing growth in emerging markets'. President designate of the firm's consumer division, Emma Walmsley, said comms 'will be critical to the planned acceleration of consumer healthcare' at GSK.

PRWeek reported last week that McGibbon was in talks with GSK. The pharma firm has now confirmed he will start in September and will become a member of the global comms leadership.

He will report to senior vice-president of global comms Phil Thomson, and will work under president of consumer healthcare, John Clarke, and Walmsley.

McGibbon will be based at GSK's global headquarters, GSK House in Middlesex and succeed Brian Jones, who has been appointed to a new global role in the internal comms department.

Thomson said McGibbon would bring 'a new perspective' to the company as it takes a fresh strategic direction in its comms.

McGibbon joined IHG, the world's largest hotel firm, in 2006, where he was responsible for directing global comms around the IHG brand.

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