Ketchum Hires Samantha Schwarz as Leader of North America Health Portfolio

Ketchum Hires Samantha Schwarz as Leader of North America Health Portfolio

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Alicia Stetzer

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Firm Further Bolsters Senior Health Bench with Appointment of Erin Davis to EVP, Government Health Growth and Strategy

NEW YORK, Jan. 11, 2022 – Reflecting its reputation as a destination for top healthcare talent, leading communications consultancy Ketchum today announced the hires of Samantha Schwarz as Managing Director and Health Portfolio Leader to lead its North America health business. She joins the consultancy from Novartis, where she served as Senior Director, Corporate Communications, Novartis Gene Therapies.

Recognized as a Top Women in Healthcare by PR News, Schwarz brings 25 years of experience in health communications, including 15 years at Golin, where she last held the position of Chicago Healthcare Practice Lead. She will oversee the entire health sector for Ketchum, which services clients across all health industries including pharmaceuticals, biotech, medical device, consumer health, hospitals and health systems, payers and government health. Reporting into North America President Neera Chaudhary, Schwarz will drive the consultancy’s strategic direction in health, provide commercial and thought leadership, and lead its acquisition strategy.

“The critical role of health and healthcare in our society has never been more celebrated than it is right now, and the demand for continuous innovation, education and communication is increasing at an exponential rate. That’s why Ketchum is hyper-focused on health and investing in top talent whose expertise spans the full health ecosystem,” said Chaudhary.

She continued, “When it comes to pharma and biotech experience, Sam Schwarz’s list of impressive accolades is extensive, and having previously worked with her closely, I know that it is her real instinct for building teams and growing client relationships that will make her a tremendous asset for Ketchum.”

Schwarz most recently led global and U.S. product communications for the most widely used gene therapy globally, supporting one of Novartis’ most successful launches to date. In this role, she led announcements for regulatory approvals in global markets, multiple data milestones and clinical program updates, value and access communications, and developed a powerful patient storytelling engine to bring to life the impact of gene therapy on the spinal muscular atrophy community. In addition, she was a key leader on issues management and investor relations support and helped to establish a corporate social strategy and presence.

Previously, she led the Chicago Healthcare Practice at Golin, delivering strategic communications and tactical excellence for a diverse client portfolio, ranging from some of the world’s most recognized pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies to payers, health service organizations, hospital systems and health tech startups.

“Ketchum’s well-established consultancy model, combined with its diverse health portfolio and depth of talent, inspired my decision to return to the agency side. Additionally, the firm’s culture naturally lends itself to some of the most important corporate attributes during these times – continuity with flexibility, authenticity and a passion to make a difference,” said Schwarz. “I’m energized by the opportunity to apply learnings from my experience at Novartis, including partnering with multiple communications agencies, to help develop teams and strategic programming uniquely suited to meet the specific needs of Ketchum’s health clients. I’m looking forward to working closely with my team to establish and deliver on the consultancy’s strategic direction in health.”

Ketchum also appointed Erin Davis as EVP, Government Health Growth and Strategy, reporting into Michelle Baker, Chief of Staff, Health. She brings 18 years of experience of strategic planning, communication, organizational change management and information technology transformation projects for federal and commercial customers. Most recently, Davis was Senior Associate for Booz Allen Hamilton, where she worked for more than 11 years supporting federal government contracts focused on health.

Chaudhary said, “Ketchum’s healthcare portfolio has grown tremendously with the addition of new clients and with the ever-changing needs of our current clients in this sector, and this momentum isn’t slowing. We pride ourselves as a communications consultancy whose health capabilities span the full healthcare ecosystem and across other sectors where health increasingly is a business priority. With the addition of these world-class leaders, we’re adding tremendous expertise and value for our clients, and further cementing our reputation as the leading destination for health clients and top talent.”

These latest hires come on the heels of the launch of the firm’s health equity offering, HEq, late last year. In 2021, Ketchum made significant investments in health equity leaders, hiring Valarie Clark as SVP, Health Equity, focused on helping clients deliver healthcare to the individuals and communities that need it the most, and hiring Nicky Battle as EVP of Health Consumer Experience, leading inclusive design and ensuring accessible and impactful communications experience for health consumers.

About Ketchum
The winner of 131 Cannes Lions and PRovoke’s Global Creative Agency of the Year, Ketchum is the most creatively awarded firm in our industry. We’re equal parts human-centered and business-focused, empathetic and intelligent. As a global communications consultancy, we combine the deep industry and specialty expertise of boutique firms with global reach to find unexpected connections that lead to lasting relationships and work that matters. For more information on Ketchum, a part of Omnicom Public Relations Group, visit www.ketchum.com.

About Omnicom Public Relations Group
Omnicom Public Relations Group is a global collective of three of the top global public relations agencies worldwide and specialist agencies in areas including public affairs, language strategy, global health strategy and change management. As the largest group of communications professionals in the world, our employees provide expertise to companies, government agencies, NGOs and nonprofits across a wide range of industries. Omnicom Public Relations Group delivers for clients through a relentless focus on talent, continuous pursuit of innovation and a culture steeped in collaboration. Omnicom Public Relations Group is part of the Communications Consultancy Network, a division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC).

About Communications Consultancy Network
Communications Consultancy Network (CCN) is a global collective of the top global public relations, strategy, branding, and research agencies. Award-winning brands include FleishmanHillard, Ketchum, Porter Novelli, Marina Maher Communications, Interbrand, C Space, Wolff Olins, Sterling, Siegel & Gale and Hall & Partners. We are home to a group of highly talented and specialized consultants across industries and marketing disciplines, delivering strategic thinking and market-leading innovation to clients. CCN is a division of Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC).

About Omnicom Group Inc.
Omnicom Group Inc. (NYSE: OMC) (www.omnicomgroup.com) is a leading global marketing and corporate communications company. Omnicom’s branded networks and numerous specialty firms provide advertising, strategic media planning and buying, digital and interactive marketing, direct and promotional marketing, public relations and other specialty communications services to over 5,000 clients in more than 70 countries. Follow us on Twitter for the latest news.

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