British Heart Foundation hires first marketing and engagement director

The British Heart Foundation (BHF) is appointing its first marketing and engagement director as it gears up to launch its new strategy aimed at tackling heart disease by 2020.

Video: The BHF’s latest marketing campaign

Carolan Davidge joins the BHF from Cancer Research UK where she spent 10 years as its director of communications. She has also held roles at charities including Shelter, Macmillan Cancer Support and the Medical Research Council.

Cancer Research UK is yet to find a replacement for her role.

The creation of the marketing director role was triggered by the retirement of Betty McBride, previously director of policy and communications who had responsibility for marketing. Nick Radmore has been overseeing marketing and communications on an interim basis since May.

Simon Gillespie, chief executive at the BHF, says Davidge will lead a new “engagement approach” at the charity which will be central to its new strategy. Launching on Wednesday (6 August), the new strategy “We fight for every heartbeat” will look to involve patients, volunteers, supporters and stakeholders in tackling heart disease.

“Everything we do should be informed by the needs and view of heart patients and the wide range of key stakeholder we work with. A key focus of this role will look at how we actively engage with and grow our ‘connected community’ of patients, volunteers and supporters. Together we can change the future for heart patients and their famililes,” he adds.

Davidge will start at the BHF on 13 October. She will also join the charity’s executive board, helping shape its strategy to help prevent heart disease, which affects more than 7 million people in the UK.

“I’m delighted to be joining the BHF. The charity is well-known, highly respected and has a track record of producing memorable and impactful communications. I’m looking forward to building on those strengths to support the charity’s ambitious plans for the future,” she says.

The British Heart Foundation recently shifted the focus of its marketing, launching a campaign to raise awareness of hereditary heart disease under the strapline “join the fight”. The activity was a departure for the charity, which has typically focused on how factors such as weight, exercise and alcohol consumption can lead to heart disease.

The BHF has also appointed a new director of policy in Mike Hobday. He was previously director of policy and research at Macmillan responsible for high-profile campaigns including the successful bid to secure free prescriptions for cancer patients.

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