STOCKHOLM — Swedish PR consultancy Narva has bolstered its healthcare capabilities, hiring former social affairs minister Göran Hägglund, soon after acquiring specialist firm Heart.

Hägglund will work for Narva as a senior adviser, primarily in healthcare and life sciences. His arrival may be the most senior public affairs hire in Sweden since JKL hired former PM Göran Persson in 2007.

Hägglund was a member parliament from 1991 to 2015, and served as minister of social affairs from 2006 to 2014. He was the leader of the Christian Democrats from 2004 to 2015, and has also worked at insurance company Wasa Liv and as an investment advisor at the brokerage firm Alfred Berg.

The hire follows Narva's acquisition of specialist healthcare advertising agency Heart. The latter firm's shareholders, Jonas Södergren and Petrea Södergren, will continue as senior consultants at Narva.

Narva managing partner Johan Molander told the Holmes Report that the moves reflect how "the traditional PR model is changing in the pharma industry."

"Historically, companies have had quite substantial corporate comms/public affairs retainers, tied to the country management," said Molander. "On the product level, market comms and medical comms have been divided.

"What we see now is that pharma clients push more public affairs responsibility down to the product level (oncology, cardiovascular, etc), and that market and medical comms retainers merge."

Narva has 40 employees and turnover of SEK 65 million (US$8m) in 2015. The firm has made a number of acquisitions in recent years, including sustainability specialist Rewise last year,  Mix Public Relations, a public affairs and life sciences specialist firm in 2012, and crisis comms agency Medial in 2010.

Photo: (l-to-r) Johan Molander, Göran Hägglund, Annika Sundström and Daniel Bergsten.