Johnson & Johnson names FitzPatrick comms leader

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ: Johnson & Johnson has tapped departing Cigna CCO Maggie FitzPatrick as its chief communicator, effective Sept. 16.

Johnson & Johnson names FitzPatrick comms leader

NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ: Johnson & Johnson has tapped departing Cigna CCO Maggie FitzPatrick as its chief communicator, effective September 16.

FitzPatrick will serve as CCO and VP of public affairs and corporate communication, reporting to Michael Sneed, VP of global corporate affairs. She will lead the company's integrated global communication strategy, with responsibility for internal and external communications, public affairs, and reputation management. FitzPatrick will also work directly with chairman and CEO Alex Gorsky as well as the executive and management committees.

She will relocate to Pennsylvania to be closer to J&J's headquarters in New Brunswick, NJ, she said. The company has a communications team of about 350 employees around the world.

“[J&J] has a significant profile of businesses in different segments. It's an awesome responsibility and a very good company,” FitzPatrick said of her new role.

She will replace Ray Jordan as J&J's top communicator. Jordan, who worked at the company since 2003, left the role last year to serve as SVP of corporate affairs at Amgen.

"It was very important to the management team that they got the right leader in the role. They took their time, and I think that's a very good thing," FitzPatrick said. 

J&J reported that its earnings more than doubled to $3.8 billion during the second quarter of this year, bolstered by an increase in prescription drug sales and the disposal of its stake in the Irish drug manufacturer Elan. It also began returning recalled products to store shelves in the US during the period.

J&J has faced a slew of challenges in recent years ranging from recalls of over-the-counter drugs like Tylenol to thousands of lawsuits over a defective artificial hip model.

“I've been assured as part of this process that the communications role has an important seat at the table,” FitzPatrick said. “There is a very strong commitment to addressing past challenges and restoring trust in Johnson & Johnson as one of the most reputable companies in the world. That was critically important to me.”

As part of its efforts to rebuild its image, J&J last April launched its first corporate branding campaign in more than 10 years called For All You Love. The initiative included a manifesto about love that appeared in print publications, videos, and digital ads.

“I am a big proponent of finding places where we can make connections and have emotional resonance. That will be part of our strategic framework, to make sure we have authentic engagement,” FitzPatrick said.

FitzPatrick has led global communications at Cigna since September 2010. In May, the health insurer said she would step down from her role as it merged its marketing and communications departments under global CMO Lisa Bacus. FitzPatrick's last day at Cigna will be August 9, she said.

In May, FitzPatrick told PRWeek that her departure from Cigna was a “mutual decision,” and her commute from Washington DC to the insurer's headquarters in Hartford, CT, for three years was part of her reason for leaving.

At Cigna, FitzPatrick reported to president and CEO David Cordani, who created the first CCO role at the insurer following his promotion to chief executive in 2009. During her tenure, FitzPatrick and her team launched the company's first integrated media and branding campaign, “Go You,” targeting individual consumers.

Before joining Cigna, FitzPatrick served as EVP in the Washington office of APCO Worldwide, where she worked since 1997. She was previously an account supervisor at Porter Novelli.  

FitzPatrick was named to PRWeek's Power List in 2012.

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