NEW BRUNSWICK, NJ: Johnson & Johnson has chosen Ernie Knewitz to take over the recently modified role of VP of global media relations.
Bill Price exited the post last year to join Zoetis, formerly Pfizer Animal Health, as senior director of corporate communications. Since his departure, the role “has completely changed” as part of an ongoing restructuring of the company's communications unit, said Danielle Devine, VP of corporate external communications at J&J. Knewitz reports to Devine.
“[Knewitz] has a full team that is responsible for proactively telling the story of Johnson & Johnson and not just being reactive from a media perspective,” said Devine. The group has eight members.
Devine chose Knewitz for the position because of his long career at J&J, deep knowledge of the media, and an advanced ability to think strategically.
Knewitz will identify and drive stories that demonstrate the work the company is doing around the world to improve the health of consumers. He will also manage financial communications and provide senior-level counsel on communications and media relations to J&J's operating companies globally.
“My background of handling such a diverse range of matters over my 20-year career – financial to brand level – will be very helpful as I assume this new role, and I am looking forward to taking on the responsibility,” Knewitz said, via email.
Knewitz has worked at J&J since 2004, holding several positions of increasing responsibility in the pharmaceutical business. Most recently, he worked in the Janssen Pharmaceuticals research and development group, serving as therapeutic area communications leader for cardiovascular and metabolism. In that role, he supported of the recent global launch of Invokana, a pharmaceutical treatment for Type 2 diabetes approved March 29, as well as for the novel oral anticoagulant Xarelto.
Before J&J, he had stints as a public information officer at the New York Academy of Sciences and an associate at Cathedral Healthcare System in Newark, NJ. Knewitz also worked at the communications firm Noonan/Russo, where he advanced to SVP, co-leading the agency's media relations practice with founder Tony Russo.