He will work with former editor Howard Griffiths, who took up the Pulse editorship in 1978 and is promoted to editor-in-chief with immediate effect. Both report to publisher Fergus Wilson.
Johnson said it was too early to say much about his appointment, but told PRWeek: 'Part of my brief is to raise the profile of Pulse.'
Persuading Johnson to move to Doctor's rival is seen as a coup for CMP Information, which publishes Pulse. Wilson said: 'This is very much a star signing for CMPI. Phil Johnson has a very high media profile, including TV appearances and regular quotes in the nationals and on radio.'
Wilson told PRWeek that Griffiths would continue to play a key role in the development of the respected 41,900-circulation magazine. 'Howard will be less involved in the editing of Pulse and more involved in our strategic position,' he said.