“Representing leading healthcare companies is a key part of Burson-Marsteller’s growth strategy, and strengthening our London-based capabilities is central to our global ambitions,” said Don Baer, Worldwide Chair and CEO, Burson-Marsteller. “Avril is going to make a big contribution to helping us serve the most important healthcare clients in key markets around the world.”
For the past two years, Lee was Managing Director of MSLGroup’s UK & EMEA Health Practices, overseeing business that included global portfolio communications for Allergan in Ophthalmology and Medical Asethetics as well as clients in the biopharmaceutical, device and diagnostics and over-the-counter spaces. Before that she spent two years with Luther Pendragon as a Director leading the AbbVie Humira business and serving on the senior leadership team. Before that, she spent 10 years with Ketchum London, most recently as CEO and Partner and Relationship Lead for Bayer Global & Roche (UK & Global).
“Avril has tremendous experience across a broad range of therapeutic areas and has led teams across multiple markets,” said Ellison. “She is among the most well-respected leaders in the field and I am thrilled we will be working together to grow our practice around our global network.”
“As economic changes and new initiatives for health equality across the world drive a new focus on health, never before has healthcare communications been so truly global with clients looking to reach consumers and professionals in industrialized, emerging and other evolving markets,” added Lee. “I am excited to get started expanding Burson-Marsteller’s healthcare expertise around the globe.”
Lee will have a dual reporting structure, reporting to Ellison as well as to Stephen Day, CEO, Burson-Marsteller London. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR), on the Editorial Board for Influence magazine and is the Chair of the CIPR’s Diversity and Inclusion Forum. She has been an active campaigner for more diversity in communications for many years and is an Ambassador for Taylor Bennett Foundation and BAME2020 as well as a mentor for the newly launched BME PR Pros scheme. From 2013 to 2014 she was a PRCA Council Member and has previously been an awards judge for PRWeek, the CIPR Awards, Communique, Fresh Awards (Chair of Judges) and the PRCA Awards.