The world’s number one life science company, Novartis, has hired
two agencies to handle its group public relations and public affairs
accounts in the UK for the first time, following a competitive
AS Biss and Co has picked up the public affairs brief, while the Red
Consultancy will be handling Novartis’ group public relations.
The appointments follow the arrival of Fiona Fong as head of
communications for Novartis UK in August. She was previously associate
director at Cohn and Wolfe.
Fong saw a total of ten agencies, four of which pitched for both
Among the ten were Lawson Lucas Mendelsohn, Shandwick, GJW Government
Relations and Hill and Knowlton. The combined budgets for the accounts
are thought to be worth around pounds 100,000. Ruder Finn continues as
Novartis’ corporate agency on a global basis.
Novartis, which was formed after the merger of Ciba-Geigy and Sandoz in
1996, has three divisions - pharmaceutical, agribusiness and
Each division handles its product and corporate PR individually. Fong’s
brief is for Novartis group communications.
Red will focus on developing understanding of the ’life science’ label,
while AS Biss concentrates on key policy areas and relationships with
Adele Biss, chair of AS Biss and Co, said the first task would be an
assessment of Novartis’ current group communications.