David Lewis, corporate affairs director at Britvic, will join the pharma body on 8 May. He will oversee a comms and PA team of ten and replaces Ben Hayes, who was recently made comms head at North Yorkshire County Council (PRWeek, 23 November 2006).
Scrutiny of the drugs industry has increased significantly in the past few years, in the wake of numerous scandals. The ABPI has taken measures to improve transparency - last year it tightened up the industry's code of practice and launched a policy of ‘shaming' bad practice.
Lewis will be expected press ahead with ABPI campaigns for greater take-up of new medicines in the NHS and extra government investment in the pharma-ceutical industry.
ABPI director-general Richard Barker said: ‘David is a seasoned professional whose experience across a wide range of challenging sectors will bring fresh perspective upon the issues and challenges faced by the pharmaceutical industry. His remit will be to build on the increasingly positive reputation of the industry with the public and politicians, as well as ensure that our point of view is well-reflected in the media debate around health priorities.'
Lewis said he was looking forward to representing the UK's ‘innovative pharmaceutical industry' and strengthening its reputation in Europe.
He joined Britvic in late 2004, charged with communicating Britvic's stance on healthy eating and advertising to children among other issues. Before that, he was comms director at Unilever Ice Cream and Frozen Food.
Lewis has been head of comms at British Aerospace as and corporate affairs manager at the Meat and Livestock Commission, where he handled fallout from the initial BSE crisis in 1989.
His PR career followed a ten-year stint in journalism at magazine publisher Emap and The Sun.