Omnicom hires boss for secret venture

Omnicom has signed up a former Roche comms chief to run a yet-to-be-launched European healthcare arm.

Jennifer Wilson this week made the switch from her role as director of international business at Athena Medical PR, which is part Omnicom-owned.

Omnicom declined to comment but insiders told PRWeek that Wilson had been called in to launch a European arm of US-based healthcare agency CPR Worldwide. It is believed the new business will be based in London and will act as a conflict shop for Fleishman-Hillard. According to well-placed sources, the new agency will have its own identity rather than using the CPR name. It is expected to operate separately from F-H's health team, which is led by director and partner Lorna Baxter.

Wilson joined Athena in 2007 to head up its new global business unit (PRWeek, 22 August 2007). She was brought on board from her role as international comms manager at pharma firm Roche, where she had worked for 11 years.

Wilson joined Roche in South Africa in 1996 as a marketing manager before moving to the global director role at its Basel, Switzerland HQ.She has worked in the pharmaceutical industry for nearly two decades, in a number of clinical research, marketing, PR and public affairs roles. Employers include Schering-Plough, AstraZeneca and MSD in her native South Africa.

In the role Wilson will report to CPR senior V-P and partner Kathy Hyett. New York-based Hyett was unable to comment as PRWeek went to press.

Separately, Athena has hired Claire Pillai to bolster its senior team. She has been brought on board from her role as senior account director at rival shop Huntsworth Health.

Pillai has worked on both international and UK ethical healthcare accounts in therapeutic areas including dermatology, oncology and cardiovascular disease.

She will report to MD Steve Carroll. Earlier this year Athena boosted its team with the hire of Michelle Cammack as director of UK business (PRWeek, 20 February).

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