NEW YORK—Kathryn Metcalfe, who was head of the New York office of Cohn & Wolfe and more recently led a Pfizer account team drawn from several WPP agencies, is joining Novartis Pharmaceuticals as vice president of communications and will be a member of the company’s corporate executive group, reporting directly to president and chief executive Paulo Costa.
Metcalfe will be responsible for the company’s internal and external communications, including media relations; employee communications; crisis management; reputation and corporate positioning, particularly as it pertains to the company’s research and scientific leadership; corporate citizenship; and e-commerce activities.
She replaces Greg Baird, who left his role as senior vice president at Novartis earlier this year to lead the New York healthcare team at Porter Novelli.
This is the first corporate position for Metcalfe, who held senior roles at healthcare specialists Noonan Russo and Sciens Public Relations before joining Cohn & Wolfe. At C&W, she led the healthcare practice, working closely with CEO Donna Imperato, and then the New York office.
“It’s a great new challenge,” she says. “It’s a great opportunity for me to apply a range of different skills to build a best-in-class PR team. We will be working very closely with the brand team on one of the best pipelines in the industry.” The company has business units specializing in primary care, oncology, transplantation, and opththalmics.
Metcalfe will lead a team of about 20 communications professionals and will work closely with Bob Pearson, head of worldwide communications for Novartis, based in Basel.