Head of Communications, UK Healthcare

Posted 04 Aug 2022

Feltham, London - United Kingdom

Req Id 254013



A career at our company is an ongoing journey of discovery: our 60,300 people are shaping how the world lives, works and plays through next generation advancements in Healthcare, Life Science and Electronics. For more than 350 years and across the world we have passionately pursued our curiosity to find novel and vibrant ways of enhancing the lives of others.


United As One for Patients, our purpose in Healthcare is to help create, improve and prolong lives. We develop medicines, intelligent devices and innovative technologies in therapeutic areas such as Oncology, Neurology and Fertility. Our teams work together across 6 continents with passion and relentless curiosity in order to help patients at every stage of life. Joining our Healthcare team is becoming part of a diverse, inclusive and flexible working culture, presenting great opportunities for personal development and career advancement across the globe.


UK & Ireland Communications Associate Director 


Role overview:

This leadership role blends both strategic and operational responsibilities including advising senior leadership on communications strategy and execution. It is an influential role requiring the ability to determine, champion and prioritise projects according to business needs. 


The role with serve as a Communications Business Partner to the General Manager UK & Ireland and the respective leadership team. There is a strong link with the Global Stakeholder Engagement and Communications Team to ensure that the UK & Ireland communications strategy and execution is in line with global strategy. The role reports into the Head of Communications Europe, Healthcare with a dotted line to the UK General Manager. 


Strategic Impact:

The UK & Ireland Communications Director is responsible for shaping and driving our company's reputational footprint in the UK & Ireland, as well as contributing to the performance and quality of Merck communications activities globally by defining strategies and objectives that influence both internal (including senior leaders) and external audiences. The role requires extensive professional experience and senior knowledge in the communications discipline (including extensive media handling experience) and an in-depth knowledge of the pharmaceutical and NHS landscape and Merck’s competitors.


The Communications Associate Director serves as an acknowledged authority both within and outside their own discipline, providing strong and clear leadership to direct reports and others within the business, and identifying communications-orientated solutions to solve business problems. With a strong understanding of (and relationships across) the whole business, they also play a central role on the UK & ROI Leadership Team discussions and wider business decisions – including playing a key role in the solving of often complex and operationally important problems.


They are an acknowledged and trusted authority who is able to continually identify, evaluate and communicate risk. They are also able to effectively negotiate, diplomatically influence and persuade others to adopt a different viewpoint. 


Key Accountabilities:

  • Develop, lead & manage healthcare communications in the UK & Ireland
  • Advise the General Manager and Leadership Team with considered counsel on reputation and other business-related matters
  • Regularly present to and consult global line management and senior level executives
  • Drive reputation as well as acceptance of priority products and mitigate risk by nurturing strong relationships with key stakeholders including media, NHS, HCPs, general public and internal stakeholders
  • Maintain a favourable reputation of the company by proactive communication, proactive issues management and crisis planning
  • Impact through successful leadership and execution of communications projects to deliver substantial impact to the business
  • Filter, prioritise, analyse and validate complex and dynamic information for a diverse range of internal and external sources which requires in-depth understanding of the internal and external environment
  • Manage, train and coach internal media spokespersons
  • Ensure the value of communications is effectively measured and valued internally, aligned with the needs of the business
  • Serve as the country liaison with Global and Regional Communications and ensure cross-functional alignment.
  • Lead, coach and manage a high performing Communications team in the UK, ensuring high quality and compliant communications are delivered across all channels (including social/digital channels)
  • Strategically prioritize communication activities in alignment with the General Manager and Country Leadership Team to focus on areas of highest and implement
  • Continuously measure the effectiveness and ROI of communication activities and stop/de-prioritize activities and communication channels on an ongoing basis
  • Provide communications support to other Global/EU level projects and activities as required – particularly those requiring a native English speaker



Scope of People Responsibility:

  • Line manage one direct report in the UK & Ireland (Communications Manager) and additional agency resource(s)
  • Focus on performance and results as well as the development of areas of responsibility
  • Responsible for day-to-day management, objective setting, coaching and developing employees, performance appraisal, determining employee compensation as well as the definition of team organisation, roles and responsibilities and budget – does the role include budget responsibility?
  • Provide strong leadership and define responsibilities and deadlines for communications related tasks/projects (including issues communications, launch communications, above brand initiatives, etc)



Education & Work Experience

  • Degree in Communications, journalism, marketing or equivalent education
  • Extensive experience in Communications in a corporate or agency environment
  • Substantial experience in healthcare communications, Product PR, including internal & external communications, channel management & digital channel management
  • Substantial media relations experience both general media and healthcare branch media, product launches (including in depth understanding of local reimbursement processes)
  • Excellent writing, editing, copywriting and proofreading skills
  • Able to influence and lead people with indirect authority
  • Demonstrated ability to interact with, counsel challenge and influence senior executives effectively
  • Proven ability to develop and execute results-driven communications strategies that are aligned with business goals and objectives
  • Demonstrated ability to set and manage priorities, resources, goals, and project initiatives
  • Extensive experience at managing other communications professionals, vendors and agencies of all levels
  • Strong strategic and analytical skills, hands-on, high energy
  • Ability to establish and meet deadlines, work under pressure and handle multiple priorities

What we offer: We are curious minds that come from a broad range of backgrounds, perspectives, and life experiences.
We celebrate all dimensions of diversity. Applications from individuals are encouraged regardless of age, disability, sex, gender reassignment, sexual orientation, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief and marriage and civil partnerships. We believe that it drives excellence, innovation, and human progress. We care about our customers, patients, and our rich mix of people. This diversity strengthens our ability to lead in science and technology.
We are committed to creating access and opportunities for all and empower you to fulfil your ambitions. Our diverse businesses offer various career moves to seek new horizons.
Join us in building a culture of inclusion and belonging that impacts millions and empowers everyone to bring their curiosity to life!


Curious? Chat with one of our curious minds on our interactive Q&A platform and catch a glimpse of our people, values, and culture. You can also apply and find more information at https://jobs.vibrantm.com

If you would like to know more about what diversity, equity, and inclusion means to us, please visit https://www.merckgroup.com/en/company/press-positions.html

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