NEW YORK—Hill & Knowlton has named AnnaMaria DeSalva as director of its worldwide healthcare practice. The position has been open for more than a year, since predecessor Paul McDade left the firm.
DeSalva will be responsible firm’s growth strategy in healthcare, which has been a problem area for H&K in recent years due to high turnover at the senior level. She will be based in the firm’s New York office, will report to Paul Taaffe, chairman and CEO, and will join the firm’s worldwide executive committee.
DeSalva brings substantial experience as a leading healthcare communicator, most recently as direct of GCI Group’s healthcare practice through a period of significant expansion and working closely with clients in biopharmaceuticals, medical technology, information technology and the non-profit sector to develop markets, accelerate reputation and manage critical issues.
Prior to joining GCI as healthcare practice leader in 2002, DeSalva spent six years in corporate affairs at Bristol-Myers Squibb, where she worked with on reimbursement issues and adoption of the company’s anti-cancer treatments and led strategic planning and international health programs at the Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation. DeSalva began her career working with major clients in the healthcare practices at Ogilvy and Ketchum.
“The leadership at Hill & Knowlton has prioritized further global achievement in healthcare as a top priority for the firm as we make steady gains against our growth strategy,” says Taaffe. “AnnaMaria’s reputation for results is rooted in her significant experience as a strategist and in her talent for developing high performance teams.”
In a new global practice structure, H&K will combine its expertise in life sciences, technology, marketing, and corporate and public affairs to expand its role for healthcare clients.
“As health systems continue to strive for better and more sustainable models of care, communication strategy assumes an ever more central role as the major driver of successful transformation,” DeSalva says.
GCI recently named Bill Martin to the new position of executive vice president and North American healthcare practice leader and Jill Dosik executive vice president and director of New York healthcare.