Sharon Gamsin, vice president corporate communications at SmithKline
Beecham has been ousted in a shake-up of its PR operation.
Gamsin left the company at the end of last month although callers were
still being put through to her voice mail at SB this week.
A spokesman confirmed Gamsin’s post had been eliminated and the
corporate affairs departments in the UK and US combined. The
restructuring follows a review of corporate and administrative functions
begun by chief executive Jan Leschley last year.
The nine-strong UK corporate affairs team - including Lynne Smith,
director corporate information, Europe and international and Anne-Marie
Salmon, director of consumer healthcare communications - now reports
direct to Gamsin’s American counterpart Jeremy Heymsfeld. He, in turn,
reports to the UK-based director and senior vice president, corporate
affairs James Hill.
Meanwhile the UK-based head of internal communications Toby Maloney, has
relocated to SB’s head office in Philadelphia from where he will
continue to manage the two remaining UK internal communications staff -
now part of corporate affairs.
SB said the new structure was designed to provide ‘more consistent and
integrated communications to internal and external audiences’.
Gamsin told PR Week: ‘From my perspective, I’m certainly disappointed
because SB was a very exciting company to work for, and the
pharmaceutical industry is a fascinating business’. She said she was
looking at other job opportunities in the UK.
Gamsin joined SB in 1992 from the New York Stock Exchange, where she had
been vice president, media relations for five years. Under her direction
SB’s London PR operation expanded from a staff of two to seven with a
budget of around pounds 2 million a year.
Last week it emerged that SB financial director Hugh Cullum had hired
financial PR firm Brunswick to handle an unspecified media relations
project (PR Week, 2 February) despite calling off a formal pitch for the
business in December.
An earlier search for an agency to position Cullum as an authoritative
spokesman for the company in Leschly’s absence - begun by Gamsin - had
also been aborted.
The company declined to specify Brunswick’s brief or even confirm its