Exclusive: Promotions as Hanover Health combines health and public affairs in London

Hanover Health has announced a new London Health Team, combining health comms and public affairs, under the leadership of senior directors Alex Davies and Emma Gorton.

Emma Gorton (L) and Alex Davies (R) will lead the new London Health Team at Hanover
Emma Gorton (L) and Alex Davies (R) will lead the new London Health Team at Hanover

The team sits within the Hanover Health practice, which includes the international policy and access team in Brussels and healthcare practices in Dublin and the Middle East.

Hanover Health’s public affairs and communications teams in London have been run separately until now.

The change was prompted by the imminent departure of James Woodhouse, who has led Hanover’s London public affairs practice since he joined the agency in 2019, as his fixed-term contract comes to an end.

However, Hanover said Woodhouse had agreed to continue giving senior counsel to its clients before following his ambition to set up his own consulting business.

New leadership

Davies and Gorton will manage a team of more than 35 people, providing counsel and creative services to Hanover’s clients, which include three-quarters of the world’s top 20 pharmaceutical companies.

They will continue to report to Andrew Harrison, managing director of Hanover Health, who set up the practice nearly 20 years ago.


Davies, a regular expert commentator for PRWeek, has more than a decade of experience in healthcare comms and is a specialist in corporate comms, media relations and issues and crisis management.

He began his communications career at the Royal College of Nursing, rising from comms officer to the role of campaigns and digital engagement manager by the time he left more than four years later.

Roles as corporate comms manager for AstraZeneca and comms manager at the BBC followed, before Davies joined healthcare agency Tonic Life Communications – now part of Evoke.

Davies moved to Hanover more than three years ago and has been a director in the agency’s health team since 2018.

Gorton, a former PR Week ‘30 Under 30’ winner, also has 10 years of experience in healthcare PR, and is a specialist in product and brand communications.

She started out as a broadcast assistant for BBC Radio York and for BBC Radio Cambridgeshire before moving to sport specialist agency ENS.

Gorton then moved to Ogilvy Health World, where she held a variety of increasingly senior roles, before joining Hanover more than three years ago.

Changing needs of clients

The agency said its health practice had averaged growth of more than 20 per cent for each of the past four years.

The wider Hanover Group has 170 full-time employees in Europe and had revenues of £19m in 2018.

In October, the Hanover Health team won a PRWeek Award for Issues and Reputation Management.

Commenting on the changes announced by Hanover Health, Harrison said: “Today’s environment of pioneering science and cost-containment pressures means that clients are increasingly asking for a combination of health policy, access, and communications expertise to succeed – and many clients are organising internally in this way.”

He added: “Clients want experts, not generalists, and so we are retaining our award-winning specialist teams but bringing them closer together under a single leadership structure to help us go even further and faster in the future.”

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