Anderson is due to step down as De Facto CEO next year after completing his year long notice period. He is taking a career break and is looking at other opportunities in the PR arena.
De Facto will be merged into Good Relations immediately and will be headed up by Good Relations CEO Teresa-Anne Dunleavy. Good Relations already has healthcare experience and has worked for clients including The Royal College of Psychiatrists, St John Ambulance and NHS Connecting for Health.
‘Good Relations has a strong track record in healthcare PR,' said Dunleavy. ‘The medical devices and life sciences teams from De Facto will be strong additions to this existing healthcare offering.'
The pharmaceuticals division will operate separately within the broader Good Relations business. De Facto's existing clients include Sphere Medical, Domainex and Aloka Holding Europe and they will now be serviced by Good Relations.
Anderson sold De Facto to Chime in 2005 (PRWeek, 22 September 2005). Chime already held a 40 per cent share in De Facto, which it acquired in two stages in 2004 and 2005.
An industry source said the move to merge De Facto with another Chime agency could mean Chime was paving the way for a healthcare agency purchase. Earlier this year Chime chairman Lord Bell said the marcoms group was talking to select healthcare agencies with a view to acquiring one (PRWeek, 15 July).
‘In this difficult economic environment, healthcare is not as affected as other sectors,' said Bell. ‘Most PR groups are considering expanding their healthcare business.'
Separately, Bell Pottinger Health, also part of the Chime group, has picked up a brief with DisabledGo, an organisation that provides access information for disabled people in the UK.
The agency will provide media relations support for the launch of an online resource for NHS Trusts.