Thomson is poised to join the agency, part of marcoms group Huntsworth, on 16 May in a newly created role that places her as number two to CEO Jeff Smith, to whom she reports.
She left Novartis last month. Prior to Novartis, where she worked for almost three years, she was UK head of medical education at the former Sanofi-Synthelabo.
Thomson is currently also vice-chairman of the Pharmaceutical Marketing Society. Smith said he expected Thomson to 'play a pivotal role' in growing the agency's business and that she would be primarily, but not exclusively, involved with medical education work.
Avenue has clients including GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer Consumer Health, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, Sanofi-Aventis, UCB Pharma and Bristol-Myers Squibb.
The agency has 32 staff and a senior management team comprised of Lucy Kirkpatrick, Jennifer Garratt, Sue Rout, Sara Black and Cathy McDonnell.
Finance director Tara Stimpson left for sister Huntsworth agency GCG Hudson Sandler four months ago.
Smith replaced Joanna Marchant at the helm of Avenue late last year (PRWeek, 12 November 2004).
Thomson is the first senior hire to join Avenue since Smith, who formerly worked for Lilly UK, was appointed as chief executive.
Marchant, now spearheading Four Gritti Communications' expansion into healthcare (PRWeek, 4 March), left Avenue just three months after it was sold to Huntsworth for £1.37m.
Novartis said its UK health comms department had been 'restructured' and would not replace Thomson.