Every year agencies come and go, and 2021 was no exception. However, what was exceptional was the challenge setting up shop during an ongoing global pandemic.
At the start of the year global healthcare comms network Ashfield Health merged three of its agencies – Pegasus, Ashfield Digital and Creative and Cambridge Biomarketing – to create Mind+Matter.
Ben Beckley (above, left), former president of Cambridge Biomarketing, is the new agency’s global president, while Corrina Safeio (above, right), former managing director of Pegasus, is managing director, UK.
Beckley said: “COVID-19 has shown in an instant how our individual health is also a truly global issue, and we need to offer clients a deeply interconnected, cross-sector response to their challenges. We will supercharge health communications with big thinking that’s unafraid to confront the toughest problems out there.”
Rachel Royall (above), former director of health, wellbeing and life sciences at Markettiers, decided to set up her own consultancy in April because ““strategic public relations will be critical to the next stage of transformation in health and care”.
Royall, who has held senior comms roles at the NHS, Department of Health and Social Care and the Cabinet Office, said: “In any industry, but especially healthcare, great change comes from listening and ensuring that the right voices are given a platform.
“The pandemic has made this plain for all to see, and I know from my own experience of leading comms transformation programmes and campaigns [that] the skills we have and the advice we give as PR professionals makes a difference and saves lives.”
Former Pegasus stalwarts Jo Spadaccino (above, left) and Stuart Hehir (right) joined forces to set up their own healthcare agency in June.
Spadaccino founded the pharmaceuticals and life sciences team at Pegasus and led it for eight years before becoming head of client partnerships, while Hehir founded the creative and digital services teams and worked at the agency for more than a decade.
The duo have branded Stirred “a healthy hybrid agency” with an approach that uses a mix of perspectives, experiences and skills.
Hehir commented: “There has never been a more opportune moment for fresh thinking and switching things up a bit, and what better way to do that than creating something purpose-built from the ground up.”
Former government minister Lord O’Shaughnessy (above, left), Berkeley Greenwood (centre), founder of public affairs agency Decideum and Ed Jones (right), a former special adviser to Health Secretary Jeremy Hunt, set up this new agency to target clients in the health sector.
The launch of Newmarket Strategy, in March, came in the wake of O’Shaughnessy’s departure from Portland amid allegations that he and the agency had breached the PRCA’s code of conduct. A complaint made to the PRCA was dropped.
O’Shaughnessy has described Newmarket Strategy’s mission as being “to help patients and clinicians gain better access to life-changing innovations”.
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