Fishburn Hedges' Ayesha Bharmal in move to AstraZeneca

Ayesha Bharmal has left her position of board director and head of health after nearly eight years at Fishburn Hedges to join AstraZeneca's international comms team.

Strategy review: AstraZeneca hires Ayesha Bharmal
Strategy review: AstraZeneca hires Ayesha Bharmal

Bharmal will be global media director at the pharma giant from 4 February. She will report to head of global media relations Esra Erkal-Paler.

She will handle proactive media relations, working to promote stories that help fit with AstraZeneca’s corporate business plan. She will also have a specific focus on UK corporate comms.

The appointment of new chief executive Pascal Soriot last October has prompted a strategy review across the company, the results of which are expected to be announced alongside a financial update.

Fishburn Hedges, which set up a 12-strong dedicated healthcare team under Bharmal’s leadership in March 2011, has not confirmed a replacement.

However, chief executive Fiona Thorne told PRWeek that the agency had a model of ‘specialist expertise in sectors and disciplines, but with no formal boundaries or silos’, meaning the agency will ‘continue to grow and expand’ its work in healthcare across the business.

The healthcare team was set up to offer seamless comms advice for healthcare clients, supported by an advisory panel of NHS clinicians and managers to provide insight from within the sector.

Bharmal’s primary aim in the role was to drive new business, building the agency’s speciality across the public, private and voluntary sectors. Current clients include Celesio UK, Novartis and the Health Foundation.

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