Pearson quits GCI for Novartis role

NEW YORK: GCI president of the Americas Bob Pearson has resigned to become head of worldwide communications for Swiss drugs firm Novartis.

Pearson replaces Dieter Wissler, who recently retired, and will start the job on 1 October. He will be based at the company’s headquarters in Basel, Switzerland.

GCI does not plan to name a successor to Pearson in the near future.

North American healthcare practice head AnnaMaria DeSalva becomes the agency’s most senior healthcare executive.

While at GCI, Pearson also served as chair of the firm’s worldwide healthcare practice. Pearson will report to Steve Kelmar, who joined Novartis as head of public affairs earlier this year.

Pearson said it was too early to discuss the specifics of his new role, but cited internal and external comms, branding and internet strategies as possible responsibilities.

Meanwhile, Robert Valdmanis has been appointed president of GCI Canada. He replaces Nancy Croitoru, who left to become CEO of the Food and Consumer Products Manufacturers of Canada.

Valdmanis was recently a principal at the New York-based Dilenschneider Group, handling IR, corporate communications, and litigation PR work. Earlier in his career, he was a partner at GGA Communications, Montreal.

He will work out of the GCI Toronto office, and will also oversee Montreal operations.

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