JD Cassidy headlines trio of senior-level Syneos hires

As Tim Pantello enters the second half of his inaugural year as president, communications of Syneos Health Communications, he’s rounding out his senior team.

The new joiners include former Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness president JD Cassidy, whose dual remit has him overseeing North American advertising and the agency GSW NY, and industry veterans Maria Tender and Ian Dorrian, tapped to lead strategy and EU communications, respectively. All three report into Pantello, who joined Syneos in January and has global responsibility for advertising, PR and medical communications.

Cassidy sees the hirings as “a clear signal” of prioritization of the communications group. “We’re all excited to see that kind of investment and commitment from Syneos Health and the brands that we all represent,” he said.

Syneos’ portfolio of healthcare shops includes some of the most well-known in the sector, from GSW and Navicor on the advertising side to PR firms Chandler Chicco Agency, Biosector 2 and Chamberlain Healthcare Communications.

GSW, for one, has a footprint in Columbus, Ohio, where it was founded, and in Philly, Toronto, Santa Monica and New York. Its Manhattan team represents legacy shops from the old inVentiv Health network, like Palio and Blue Diesel.

“There’s a lot of great DNA within the New York office,” said Cassidy. “GSW is an iconic brand that has been relevant in healthcare advertising and communications for decades. There’s space for that agency and brand to continue to deliver great work and to continue to evolve to match the way the marketplace is going.”

COVID-19 has prompted the agency to evolve its offering, Cassidy added. “One of my goals is to continue to produce great creative work, appreciating brand experiences and how they’ve changed because of the COVID world we live in.”

Cassidy’s tenure with the Saatchi brand spanned more than seven years, during which he integrated Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, which had been purely consumer-focused, with two of Publicis’ professionally oriented shops, Saatchi & Saatchi Health and Medicus. Prior to that, he held a global client lead position with Publicis Health and helmed the indie shop DiD. Cassidy started his agency career with Medical Broadcasting Corp., which was eventually bought by Publicis and integrated with Digitas Health.

Tender, Syneos’ new strategy lead, hails from Omnicom’s DDB, where she built the healthcare strategy group and led planning. Dorrian, the EU comms head, has worked for Omnicom shops and a variety of other healthcare agencies.
MM&M estimates that Syneos Health Communications generated revenue of $255 million in 2019, a 4% increase over 2018’s take of $245 million.

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