Philip Morris hires ex-Burson-Marsteller UK chief Amanda Pierce to head UK comms

Tobacco giant Philip Morris International (PMI) has hired former Burson-Marsteller CEO and ex-McDonald's UK PR chief Amanda Pierce as head of communications in the UK.

In the new role at the company, Pierce (pictured) will spearhead Philip Morris' corporate PR programme in the UK and Ireland. She will also oversee external comms, stakeholder engagement, corporate social responsibility, campaigns and employee engagement.

It comes amid major changes at Philip Morris as the group moves towards smoke-free products like e-cigarettes and heated tobacco and away from cigarettes. It also follows the company's appointment of former Havas PR North America CEO Marian Salzman, who joined as SVP of communications, based in Switzerland, at the end of April.

Pierce left Burson-Marsteller last summer after nine years at the agency, including four years as UK CEO. During her time at Burson she advised some of the world’s biggest companies including Shell, DeBeers, Kimberly-Clark, Danone and GSK.

Prior to Burson, Pierce spent eight years at McDonald’s UK, rising to head of PR & internal communications, a period that coincided with a turnaround in fortunes in the UK business.

She takes up her new London-based post today (3 September) and will report to Philip Morris UK corporate affairs director Mark MacGregor, who said: "I am delighted to have persuaded someone with Amanda’s pedigree to join PMI. This is an incredibly important moment in the transformation of our company.

"We are working to become a smoke-free business and I hope Amanda can help us to achieve that ambition as fast as possible."

Pierce said: "I am honoured to be joining Philip Morris at this pivotal time. The smoke-free goals of Philip Morris are unlike anything any tobacco company has set out to do before and carries with it the challenge of changing mindsets to create what will be a huge impact across public health.

"This is one of the most important communications roles in the industry - I am hugely excited to be joining a team that has already achieved so much and to continue to help drive this transformation forward."

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