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In-House Team of the Year

Sponsored by:

2020 Finalists

AstraZeneca Global Corporate Affairs

2019 was a seminal year in AstraZeneca’s (AZ) corporate turnaround. It would be the year the Company aimed for robust, double-digit growth after a period of decline, while also launching a new corporate strategy and organisational model to ensure future success.

In this context, the AZ Global Corporate Affairs (GCA) team set ambitious objectives to:

  1. build external stakeholder belief in AZ’s leadership in its therapy areas and return to growth,
  2. build employee understanding of the Company’s new corporate strategy and organisational model, and
  3. position AZ as a trusted partner with governments and collaborate to deliver innovative solutions to improve patient access to treatment, advance outcomes and enhance healthcare system efficiency.

Despite a remarkably lean team vs. FTSE company peers, GCA achieved outstanding results. The team delivered an unprecedented volume of news-flow about its medicines, resulting in higher positive sentiment than competitors across top ten media outlets. GCA achieved employee engagement scores that reached Global High Performing Norms, despite large-scale organisational change. And government relations were instrumental in launching innovation hubs, delivering innovative payment solutions and strengthening relations to enable ongoing collaboration. Perhaps most importantly, the team’s work cemented GCA’s critical role in the success of AZ.


It seems like every company today is ‘undergoing rapid transformation’ to ‘establish a culture of employee engagement based on purpose’ with its ‘disruptive customer-centric approach’ thanks to ‘robust digital customer journey mapping.’ Right? So, how do you stand out in a sea of sameness? How do you show that you’re relevant to the stakeholders that matter to your business?

Until 2019, being seen as ‘relevant’ to key stakeholders was one of Ipsen’s biggest challenges, but we saw this as an opportunity to put the company on the map as a leading global biopharmaceutical company focused on innovation and Specialty Care.

To demonstrate relevance by delivering impactful and engaging communications and building relationships with patients, stakeholders and employees, we transformed Global Communications by replicating an agency model, in-house. We built Ipsen’s brand architecture, created a storytelling agenda and scaled-up our channel planning strategy to improve audience experience; drove business results through clear communication of Ipsen’s roadmap and strategic priorities, and fully embedded patient-centricity into our culture to attract and retain top talent. By doing this, we strengthened Ipsen’s relevance by stripping it to its core and what matters most – business, patients and people.

Leading Through Change - Takeda Pharmaceuticals

Takeda established a dedicated External Affairs Directorate in 2019 to handle the complex challenges arising from the increased size and complexity of the company following the acquisition of Shire. The legacy Shire organisation had a small external affairs team within Market Access, while the legacy Takeda organisation had a small corporate communications team.

Against the backdrop of the acquisition, the new External Affairs Directorate was tasked with reaffirming Takeda’s leadership within our therapy areas; demonstrating ongoing commitment to the patient community; managing change communications, and delivering policy changes to support business operations.

To achieve these goals in a meaningful manner for the wider business, the team undertook a strategic prioritisation process, identifying six core areas of focus. The team surpassed the expectations of the new leadership team by delivering a series of best in class campaigns, such as I am number 17 and Stories That Never Stand Still, and policy change in the area of access to medicines. These successes were only possible through close collaboration with external partner and patient organisations.

In the context of a standing start and – at times – personal uncertainties relating to the integration process, Takeda’s External Affairs team are proud to enter this award submission.

Executive summaries as submitted.

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Category Sponsors

Dr Richard White, MP PhD, Oxford PharmaGenesis - Communiqué Judge

Key dates

Entry deadline 11 March 2022
Extended entry deadline 18 March 2022
(additional fee applies)
Judging days May 2022
Awards Ceremony 7th July 2022

Contact information:

For sponsorship opportunities:
Sales Team
Tel: +44 (0)1372 414200

General event enquiries:
Debbie Tuesley
Tel: +44 (0)1372 414243

Entry and dinner booking enquiries:
Saoirse Meenaghan
Tel: 01372 414253