Castellani to lead PhRMA

WASHINGTON: PhRMA tapped John Castellani as president and CEO, bringing in the leader of the Business Roundtable and a former Burson-Marsteller executive to lead the drug group after the departure of Billy Tauzin.

WASHINGTON: PhRMA tapped John Castellani as president and CEO, bringing in the leader of the Business Roundtable and a former Burson-Marsteller executive to lead the drug group after the departure of Billy Tauzin.

Castellani is expected to start at PhRMA on September 1. The Business Roundtable released a statement, saying that the CEO organization is “actively engaged in a search for a new president and CEO.”

Castellani joined the Business Roundtable in 2001. He previously served as SVP of government relations at Tenneco and led the corporate and financial practice at Burson-Marsteller.

“This is a guy who really understood healthcare reform,” said Peter Pitts, global head of regulatory and health policy at Porter Novelli, later adding: “It's a solid, smart appointment.”

PhRMA, considered one of the most powerful lobbying organizations in Washington, was instrumental in passing the landmark healthcare legislation in March. Tauzin notably led the pharmaceutical industry trade group's partnership with the White House to support reform.

Tauzin announced in February that he planned to resign, following reports that there were internal issues over the White House deal. Mimi Simoneaux Kneuer, EVP of government and public affairs, later said she was also leaving the organization.

Chip Davis, VP of corporate external relations at AstraZeneca, was brought on in April to help find a replacement for Tauzin.

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