Ex-Blair aide Murphy to exit APCO for drugs firm

APCO director Darren Murphy has quit for a wide-ranging in-house role overĀ­seeing PA and external relations at AstraZeneca.

Murphy, a former special adviser to Tony Blair, will join the Anglo-Swedish drugs company later this month with the title head of government relations and external affairs.

He joined APCO 18 months ago as one of five directors in its London office (PRWeek, 2 Sep 2005). Last year he played a key role in landing APCO’s General Medical Council account.

Before APCO, Murphy worked at Number 10 for three years, as assistant political secretary to the PM and then as special adviser for political communications.

Murphy spent four years as special adviser to former health secretary Alan Milburn. He has also worked as special adviser to deputy PM John Prescott.

In the new role, he will report to AstraZeneca director of strategic operations and delivery Rosalind Cooper.

Murphy’s departure is a blow for APCO, which has traditionally had a robust portfolio of clients in the healthcare sector and will miss his understanding of decision-making processes in government, particularly the Department of Health.

However, APCO has recently recruited a former adviser to Jacques Delors – former president of the European Commission – to a director role.

Matt Browne started at the agency last month, reporting to UK managing director Simon Miller.

Browne was formerly director of Policy Network, an international think-tank dedicated to promoting progressive policies and ‘the renewal of social democracy’.

He spent four years at Policy Network and before that was policy and political adviser to Delors.

Browne worked for Delors from 2000 to 2002, while the latter was leader of the Laeken Group.

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