Maja Pawinska Sims 29 Mar 2023 // 12:51PM GMT
AMSTERDAM — Healthcare technology firm Philips has appointed a new group head of communications and brand to reboot its reputation, following a significant product recall in 2021 and a change of CEO.
Leslie McGibbon joins Philips – which employs 77,000 people in 100 countries – from global healthcare business Teva Pharmaceuticals, where as European head of corporate affairs for four years he led teams across communications, brand, government relations, ESG, business transformation and digital content.
Before Teva, McGibbon served as corporate director and global head of communications and public affairs at AkzoNobel, during a period of significant corporate unrest. He also led global communications for consumer healthcare at GSK, the world’s largest over-the-counter medicine business. The first half of his career was spent in the hotel industry with the Hilton and InterContinental Hotel Group, where he led the corporate affairs function globally.
McGibbon joins Philips on 1 May, replacing Ed Walsh, head of global integrated communications and events, who has been with the firm since 2014. Before joining Philips, Walsh was previously head of Europe at APCO Worldwide for eight years.
During his tenure at Philips, Walsh helped pivot its reputation from industrial conglomerate to a leading healthcare firm with a focus on purpose and ESG commitments, which he was played a central role in shaping. He also led communications around the CEO transition and Jakob’s communications during his first six months in post. Walsh told PRovoke Media it was the “right time to move on” and he was taking a break for personal reasons; his next move is not yet known.
Based in Amsterdam, McGibbon will report directly to new CEO Roy Jakobs, who joined Philips in October last year. Jakobs, who has held senior positions with the firm since 2010, was appointed as former CEO Frans van Houten departed in the wake of the voluntary recall in June 2021 of breathing devices and ventilators, after Philips found possible health risks linked to the polyester-based polyurethane sound abatement foam used in its products.
McGibbon said his “first priority will be to re-establish the reputation of Philips” following the product recall. The company, which manufactures a huge range of consumer and professional healthcare technology products from electric toothbrushes to baby monitors to defibrillators, has also been in the headlines recently after it announced further job cuts globally, numbering in the thousands.
Lian Vergeer-Langens, head of Philips’ brand team, will report to McGibbon.
In May 2021, just before the product recall, Philips selected a cross-disciplinary agency team from Omnicom as its global PR partner.