Pfizer's purchase of Pharmacia prompts PR department shake-up

NEW YORK and PEAPACK, NJ: Pfizer's acquisition of Pharmacia was made official last week, scattering Pharmacia's communications department in a variety of directions, while plans for changes in strategy at Pfizer were set in motion.

NEW YORK and PEAPACK, NJ: Pfizer's acquisition of Pharmacia was made official last week, scattering Pharmacia's communications department in a variety of directions, while plans for changes in strategy at Pfizer were set in motion.

Jeff Winton, Pharmacia's VP of global communications, will not join the new entity (known as Pfizer), having declined an offer to start a product PR department there. Instead, Rebecca Tillet, who has been with Pfizer for nine years, has accepted the leading role.

Still in its infancy, Tillet's group will focus on US pharmaceutical products. It was formed, according to Tillet, "to bring more of a PR focus to the business side of things, as consumer empowerment continues to grow."

Tillet would not comment on any staffing processes, but confirmed that no one from Pharmacia had been appointed to her group.

Several staffers from Pharmacia, however, have taken jobs within Pfizer's corporate media relations department, which is led by VP Andy McCormick. Paul Fitzhenry, the most senior communications person from Pharmacia to accept a job at Pfizer so far, will serve as senior director of corporate media relations. Daniel Watts, Bryant Haskins, and Kristina DiPalo have also joined McCormick's team from Pharmacia.

Others were offered positions at Pfizer, but declined because they did not want to relocate or commute to Manhattan, where all the jobs are based. Some, like Winton, are still undecided on what they will do next.

Tillet and Fitzhenry confirmed that any necessary adjustments caused by the merger would not change the existing relationships Pharmacia or Pfizer had with PR agencies.

"We want to make this as seamless as possible," said Tillet.

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