GlaxoSmithKline shakes up top tier comms teams

GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Europe communications director Neil McCrae has been appointed external affairs director for the drugs giant’s pharmaceuticals division.

McCrae replaces Kate James in the position, who has now been appointed vice-president of international external relations, and will take charge of a 12-strong comms team.

McCrae said his role includes government relations, policy development, community relations and promoting the ‘corporate brand’ across the pharmaceuticals division, which accounts for more than 80 per cent of sales.

Mark Watkins, who is currently director of communications for GSK’s Global Community Partnerships, will replace McCrae in the consumer health role, which oversees a team of two PR staff in the UK with various reporting lines from PROs located across the continent.

Watkins will handle external and internal comms across Europe, but McCrae said product-specific marcoms would continue to be handled by marketing teams for the brands, which include smoking-cessation product NiQuitin CQ, drink brands such as Ribena and Lucozade and pain-relief brand Panadol.

GSK’s Global Community Partnerships include initiatives to eliminate lymphatic filariasis and a programme on HIV education.

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