Kerins joins Bayer as comms, public affairs head

NEW YORK: Ray Kerins, former VP of external affairs and worldwide communications at Pfizer, has joined Bayer in the newly created position of SVP and head of communications and public affairs.

NEW YORK: Ray Kerins, former VP of external affairs and worldwide communications at Pfizer, has joined Bayer in the newly created position of SVP and head of communications and public affairs.

The appointment comes nine months after the departure of Mark Ryan, who served as CCO for both Bayer Corp. and Bayer MaterialScience for more than a decade.

Kerins joined the company on April 1. He is reporting to Bayer US CEO Philip Blake, global head of communications Michael Schade, and global head of public and government affairs Denise Rennmann. He is based in Whippany, NJ. About 75 staffers will report to Kerins.

In the new dual role, Kerins will provide reputational support for Bayer and oversee the internal and external communications activities of US subgroups and service companies. He will also lead Bayer's US public policy and government relations activity.

“[Kerins] brings a strong background in communications and public affairs, as well as deep industry and regulatory knowledge to his new role at Bayer,” Blake said in an internal email to staff.

Kerins was fielding potential offers and consulting for major pharmaceutical companies since leaving Pfizer last summer as part of a restructuring. Pfizer merged Kerins' external communications unit and its business communications team at the time.

After an extensive interview process that included a trip to Germany, Kerins accepted the job at Bayer.

“I was looking for a job that was going to be a good cultural fit, and I believe I found that here,” Kerins said. “Bayer has some very exciting products, and the pipeline is strong. That coupled with a strong group of professionals and global organization made it too good an opportunity to pass up.”

He added that he is looking forward to highlighting more of what the 150-year-old company does, going beyond medicine to include crop pesticides, high-tech polymers, and technology support.

Kerins was named PR Professional of the Year at the 2010 PRWeek Awards. Prior to Pfizer, he also served as director of public affairs at Merck and held senior roles on the agency side at GCI Group and Porter Novelli.

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