McKesson UK hires agency and political veteran to lead public affairs

McKesson UK, which owns high-street chain LloydsPharmacy and pharmaceutical and healthcare-product distribution network AAH, has hired serving London councillor Steve Race as its head of public affairs.

Steve Race has been hired to lead public affairs for McKesson UK
Steve Race has been hired to lead public affairs for McKesson UK

Race is responsible for improving awareness and understanding of McKesson among stakeholders and decision-makers.

He told PRWeek his job is to promote McKesson's work in order to demonstrate the value of the company and influence more partners to collaborate with it.

Race leads a team of five from the company's Coventry headquarters, covering a range of public affairs tasks including managing relationships with government organisations, industry bodies and strategic partners.

He reports directly to McKesson's UK chief executive, Toby Anderson.

Race said: "My work focuses on developing and promoting an increased understanding of the healthcare services we offer in the UK, with political and policy stakeholders."

Career history

Race joins McKesson from Teneo, where he was an associate director. He worked at the agency for nearly four years.

Prior to that he was an associate director in the public affairs and corporate comms team at FleishmanHillard, where he worked for nearly five years.

He began his career as a widening participation officer at the University of Manchester, after studying there.

Political animal

In addition to his work in agencies and in-house, Race has enjoyed a political career, which began shortly after finishing university when he became a parliamentary researcher to the former Labour minister and Secretary of State Ben Bradshaw MP.

At the 2015 General Election, Race stood to be the Labour candidate for East Devon constituency, but did not win the seat.

Following the 2015 General Election, Race was Bradshaw's campaign chief during his bid to become deputy leader of the Parliamentary Labour Party.

And at the May 2018 local elections, Race was successfully returned as a Labour councillor in the London borough of Hackney's Hoxton East and Shoreditch ward.

New challenge

Race said of his new role: "After almost a decade in consultancy, the time was right to move in-house to take on new challenges, including implementing a new public-affairs strategy at McKesson."

Asked whether he would consider standing as an MP again in the next General Election, widely expected this year, Race said: "Alongside my role with McKesson, I'm still very passionate about being a councillor and I continue to serve the residents of Hoxton on Hackney Council."

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