GENEVA--Merck Serono is on the hunt for a new comms chief following the departure of Stefanie Lauber to fragrance giant Givaudan.

After five years as the biopharmaceutical player's head of communications, Lauber began a new role overseeing Givuadan's corporate comms at the start of this year.

A Merck Serono spokesperson confirmed that the search for Lauber's successor is underway. Representatives from Givaudan did not respond to request for comment.

Lauber spent almost 13 years in total with Serono, joining the company in 1999 and moving into its top communications role after its 2006 acquisition by Merck.

Her exit follows a wave of layoffs at Merck Serono last year, following the company's decision to close its Geneva HQ. Around 500 of the company's 1,250 Geneva employees were laid off, with others taking jobs elsewhere in the company. 

Merck Serono, which is currently the largest division within the Merck group, is now led from its parent company's global HQ in Darmstadt, Germany.

Givaudan, meanwhile, is the world's largest fragrance and flavour maker. The company recently reported strong 2012 results, thanks to emerging market growth.