Publicis Healthcare realigns its management with new global business development officer, Rick Keefer


Action occurs as parent Publicis Groupe acquires leading digital agency, Sapient

Rick Keefer, president and CEO of Publicis Touchpoint Solutions (Yardley, PA) has been promoted to the title of global chief business development officer for Touchpoint’s parent, Publicis Healthcare Communications, which claims the label of “the world’s largest health-oriented communications network.” And that positioning might be about to grow larger as the global parent, Paris-based Publicis Groupe, announced the $3.7-billion acquisition of Sapient, an IT and consulting company deeply embedded in online business/customer interactions, from e-commerce to marketing services.

Michelle Keefe, COO at Touchpoint for the past three years, has been promoted to president. Both Keefer and Keefe have extensive experience at pharma companies and healthcare; prior to Touchpoint, Keefe had been business development manager at the Visiting Nurses Assn., and before that, at Pfizer. Keefer worked at Biovail, Pharmacia and Wyeth-Ayerst prior to joining Touchpoint in 2006; the company says that that unit has grown tenfold in the intervening years. Current services include contract sales, contact centers, employee recruitment and consulting.

While Publicis Healthcare (and Publicis Groupe) have extensive presence in pharma and healthcare, Sapient appears to be less invested. Its services have been directed at government, financial services and global brand management, with an emphasis in online interactivity. Maurice Levy, chairman of Publicis Groupe, while noting that the acquisition will create an $8-billion marketing and advertising giant, said that the acquisition will “leverage technology [and] consulting capabilities to expand in new verticals.” How soon these capabilities might trickle down to Touchpoint will be interesting to watch.

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