Novartis bolsters comms with board appointment

Drugs firm Novartis has re-organised its communications function, appointing a PRO to the board for the first time.

The company - whose flagship products include antiseptic cream Savlon and anti-smoking aid Nicotinell - has shaken up its comms function in a move that sees internal comms, PR, government relations and corporate comms merged into a newly created corporate affairs department.

This is led by corporate affairs director Jo Taylor, formerly head of comms, who now has a seat on the board as one of her additional duties.

The department has been further boosted with two newly created comms officer posts to take the team to nine.

Head of PR Fiona Jeal, who reports to Taylor, said the new structure has been created as part of 'gradual evolution' to give a higher priority to communications, externally and internally.

The importance of communicating with the National Institute of Clinical Excellence, which licenses drugs for prescription on the NHS, is cited as another reason for the change.

Jeal said: 'NICE is one area within the highly complex pharma industry which has demonstrated the critical need for effective communications.'

Also reporting to Taylor are internal communications head Monika Stafford and government relations head Kevin Loth.

The head of corporate comms post has been scrapped with Taylor doubling up in that role. Previous incumbent Dr Jennie Jewitt-Harris remains with the company taking a part-time role as director of corporate projects.

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