GH plans UK 'conflict' practice to help WS

Golin Harris is to build a pharma practice in London to give sister Interpublic Group agency Weber Shandwick a ‘conflict shop’.

GH has a negligible presence in UK healthcare, although it handles a sizeable volume of pharma business in the US.  WS, like many major agencies, is seeing its desire to pitch for new business increasingly stymied by pharma clients' sensitivity to potential conflicts of interest.

This situation – allied with demand from GH US clients such as GlaxoSmithKline and Bristol-Myers Squibb for on-the-ground support in London – means GH is now recruiting for a senior position that will oversee pharma business from London.

GH UK joint managing director Matt Neale and WS European healthcare practice MD Fiona Hall have had 'informal discussions' with a number of candidates. Chicago-based GH global health practice chief David Zitlow will approve the hire.

WS, meanwhile, is recruiting for a UK head of consumer healthcare, a hunt triggered by Sally Ward's promotion to vice-chair Europe and Scott Wilson's promotion to UK consumer MD last year (PRWeek, 18 November 2005).

The agency's deputy UK MD of healthcare, Lucie Harper has been promoted to UK health practice MD to enable Hall to 'focus on WS's European network'.

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