McCann Health adds new chief growth officer to get ahead in changing industry

McCann Health North America has appointed healthcare agency veteran Tammy Fischer to the newly created position of chief growth officer.

Fischer joins McCann from GSW Worldwide, New York, where she served as president for the past 8 years. Before that she was managing director at FCB Health.

Amar Urhekar, president of McCann Health Americas, said he searched for an executive for 9 to 12 months both inside and outside the healthcare industry. Fischer's 28 years of varied healthcare experience was key, because industry marketing is taking a more wide-angle view rather than zeroing in on physicians as it used to.

"As the new stakeholders and their increasing influence on healthcare marketing evolve, we needed somebody in the growth position like Tammy who has well-rounded experience around HCP marketing and payer marketing, yet also has a passion for the core agency business," he said, adding, "She's had senior marketing roles across different facets of the healthcare communications industry from insurance to customer experience to patient engagement."

The new stakeholders he's referring to are payers, patients and pharmacists, as well as hospital network systems and patient advocacy groups, all of which have become more important in healthcare marketing.

Fischer said she's looking forward to the challenges and opportunities of working at an agency with the ability to tap and connect to the larger McCann organization.

"The current healthcare system sometimes makes it difficult to engage in customer experiences. The unique thing about McCann Health North America is we are McCann with the DNA and heritage and experience that brings," she said. McCann Health is part of the McCann Worldgroup network, which is a subsidiary of agency holding company Interpublic Group.

Urhekar also explained the thinking behind the chief growth officer position. "This is about new business, but also about business development," he said. "This is about looking at ourselves and the industry with a new lens in terms of how the landscape is changing and what influence the new stakeholders and their growing importance will have on client marketing initiatives."

"How can we marshal our resources internally to make sure we don't just deliver on those expectations, but also deliver beyond the ask of today and build an agency and an offer for the future?" he added.

Fischer's hire rounds out the executive team for McCann Health North America, whose clients include Big Pharma players GlaxoSmithKline, Bayer, Teva, and AstraZeneca. It was formally created in December with the consolidation of its 5 North American offices. McCann Echo, McCann Healthcare, McCann Torre Lazur, McCann Pharmacy Initiative and McCann Managed Markets are now united under McCann Health North America, which retain individual agency names but each add the moniker, "A McCann Health Company."

Special Reports: The top 10 advertisers in Big Pharma | The top 10 most advertised prescription drug brands