Bayer brings on Fleishman for global issues account

NEW YORK: FleishmanHillard, Omnicom's largest PR firm, has won the global issues AOR account from chemicals, pharma, and healthcare giant Bayer.

NEW YORK: FleishmanHillard, Omnicom's largest PR firm, has won the global issues AOR account from chemicals, pharma, and healthcare giant Bayer.

Industry sources have suggested the contract is worth seven figures on an annualized basis, though the nature of the work means that, by definition, activity only kicks in when issues arise.

It is understood that Fleishman won the business in a recent pitch against agencies including Edelman, which handles much of the German-headquartered company's corporate work. A source added that there was no incumbent on this business, which is a new account for Bayer.

Fleishman representatives declined to comment on the matter.

“Bayer often reviews the external services we utilize to support the stakeholders we serve, but as a practice we do not comment on the services we engage,” said Ray Kerins, SVP and head of communications, public affairs, and policy at Bayer.

In addition to its longstanding relationship with Edelman, Bayer has worked with various PR agencies in recent years including MSLGroup and Porter Novelli.

Bayer hired Kerins, former VP of external affairs and worldwide communications at Pfizer, in the newly created role of SVP and head of communications and public affairs in April. The appointment came nine months after Mark Ryan, who served as CCO for both Bayer Corp. and Bayer MaterialScience for more than a decade, stepped down from his role.

Bayer AG reported a 75% jump in second-quarter net profit on Wednesday, with profits hitting $1.1 billion. Revenue was up 1.9% in the period, year-over-year. The company also said it saw stronger-than-predicted demand for new drugs in Q2, but noted the difficulty of the plastics and chemical markets.

Last week, Fleishman was also retained by Ernst & Young to work across various divisions of the company, including transaction-advisory services, power and utilities, and human capital, as well as advising on CSR, executive positioning, and general communications issues. The firm also won a crisis and issues account for Monsanto and a one-year contract worth up to $35 million to promote Illinois' health insurance marketplace.

Fleishman parent company Omnicom Group announced plans to merge with rival Publicis Groupe on Sunday in what would be the largest combination in the history of the advertising and marketing services industry. The merger faces regulatory approval in dozens of countries and shareholder votes.

Earlier this year, Bayer HealthCare worked with Marina Maher Communications to launch Handbags & Hearts, a national campaign that encouraged women to carry aspirin in their purses so they are better prepared for a sudden heart attack.

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