Diana Marszalek 19 Nov 2020 // 2:00PM GMT
NEW YORK — GCI Health chief Wendy Lund is leaving the firm after a decade in charge to lead communications for Merck spinoff Organon & Co, and will be succeeded as global CEO by North America president Kristin Cahill.
Lund departs following 10 years of eye-catching growth with the WPP firm, which included multiple Agency of the Year selections by PRovoke (including Global Healthcare Agency of the Year in 2020) and recognition as one of our North American Agencies of the Decade.
Under Lund’s watch, GCI Health grew from 30 people to more than 300 people globally, spread across 16 offices, including a fast-growing European operation and an Asian footprint. As of 2019, the firm had cracked the world's top 30 by earning $80m in fee income.
Geralyn Ritter, a Merck SVP and head of external affairs and corporate governance for Organon, told PRovoke that Lund is “exactly the right person to help us introduce Organon to the world,” noting Lund’s particular commitment to advancing women’s health, which is Organon’s specialty. “She has the passion and expertise and track record of accomplishment,” Ritter said.
Cahill, meanwhile, has been with GCI Health, which is part of BCW Group, since 2003, rising to become New York market leader and then president of North America in 2015. In announcing her promotion, GCI credited Cahill with leading major client engagements while playing an integral role in recruiting and business development in North America, where business grew by 25% this year.
“I’m excited for Kristin to lead GCI Health as global CEO after five years of successfully heading up North America, the agency’s largest region,” said BCW global CEO Donna Imperato, to whom Cahill will report. “Kristin has spent her entire career in the healthcare industry, providing strategic and creative counsel to clients, recruiting and retaining the industry’s top talent, and fostering a very strong culture. She also has been a key member of the exceptional GCI Health leadership team that catapulted the agency from a boutique into a global powerhouse."
Imperato also praised Lund for her accomplishments. “Wendy has been an incredible leader who worked tenaciously to build GCI Health into what it is today. She established the strong foundation and global leadership team that has set the agency up for continuing growth. Under Wendy’s leadership, revenue has grown exponentially and the agency expanded from a small, 30-person shop to one with 16 offices across the US, Europe and Asia-Pacific,” Imperato said.
Lund joined GCI Health in 2010 after previously serving as MSL's longtime healthcare PR leader.
“I am so proud of the extraordinary team at GCI Health who are among the best in the healthcare communications industry,” added Lund. “Kristin is well-prepared for this role, and I know she will do a fantastic job as CEO. Joining Organon, a wholly owned subsidiary of Merck & Co., is a wonderful opportunity to embrace my long-standing commitment to the health and well-being of women, lead communications as the company prepares to spin off and drive commercial success in markets all over the world.”