Burson-Marsteller splits public affairs role in two

Burson-Marsteller has split its top public affairs role by promoting Peter Digger from manager to director of corporate and public affairs, and hiring Bill Royce from Hill & Knowlton Australia for the same role.

The appointments, which follow the departure of Malcolm George to computer outsourcing giant EDS, signal B-M’s attempt to carve out a reputation for pharmaceutical public affairs.

Royce, who has been a senior PA adviser at H&K’s Melbourne office for the past four years, brings with him expertise in the healthcare industry, servicing clients such as GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson and Pfizer. Royce has also been media adviser to Australian health minister Michael Woolbridge.

‘We want to develop our own pharmaceutical footprint. Bill has the expertise and knowledge to help us crack the UK pharma market,’ said Digger.

He added that the public affairs section would look to target new business within the agency’s own healthcare practice.

Digger joined B-M in London two years ago, before which he was a senior consultant at Weber Shandwick GJW.

Both Digger and Royce report to B-M UK chief executive Per Heggenes. George quit B-M’s top public affairs role after a year in the job to join EDS as director of marketing and communications for the UK, Ireland and Africa (PRWeek, 9 April).

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