Public Health England marketing director to leave after 13 years

Sheila Mitchell has been behind initiatives including Change4Life and Every Mind Matters but is leaving to work as a consultant to government

Change4LifeThe director of marketing Public Health England (PHE), Sheila Mitchell, is leaving her role after 13 years.

Mitchell has held the helm at PHE, previously part of the Department of Health, for over a decade and was responsible for innovating the department’s marketing with new tools and campaigns.

Mitchell’s most notable contributions have been the Change4Life initiative to tackle childhood obesity as well as Stoptober, a now established annual calendar event that has encouraged millions of smokers to make a quit attempt.

Speaking to Marketing Week about Change4Life she said: “Healthy eating was seen as a middle-class concept at the time and loving your kids was about giving them treats and nice foods.”

Mitchell is also credited with bringing innovative new technologies into government marketing, including developing the first chatbot (for Stoptober), the first voice skill (the BreastFeeding Friend), and the first use of augmented reality (in the Change4Life Food Scanner app).

She was also being the first government campaign on mental health, Every Mind Matters, as part of the drive to establish parity between mental and physical health.

Mitchell also established the blueprint for partnership marketing with government, forging strategic alliances with Boots, Amazon, Disney and others.

“I am immensely proud of the marketing team that I have led, for over a decade we have been able to transform the sector through innovation and take marketing tools and techniques deep into the world of health interventions, she says. “I look forward to continuing to work with a number of clients through private consultancy.”

The current deputy director of marketing at PHE, Alexia Clifford, will be taking over from Mitchell in September, having spent the last six and a half years in her current position.

PHE CEO, Duncan Selbie, adds: “Sheila Mitchell’s contribution to public health and PHE has been immeasurable. Her work and that of her team continues to receive extensive UK and global recognition as the gold standard.

“Her legacy is a raft of brands, campaigns, digital innovation and partnerships that will continue to improve the health outcomes of the public across the country.”

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