BIO announces new direction for communications, public affairs

By Biotechnology Innovation Organization | June 05, 2019

Biotechnology Innovation Organization President and CEO Jim Greenwood announced June 3 the hiring of Rich Masters as BIO's new executive vice president (EVP) for public affairs. The EVP for public affairs is a restructured position that will focus on developing and implementing an integrated communications, branding and marketing strategy for the organization.  Rich officially will join BIO on June 17th.  

Greenwood said, "I am thrilled to announce that Rich Masters will be leading a restructured and expanded communications function within BIO, to enhance our ability to tell the inspiring biotech story in a compelling manner and to help us advance the interests of our members. Our companies are fast, innovative and game-changing in their technologies, which are literally saving lives, feeding the world and powering the planet. BIO must have a public affairs operation that matches those efforts. Rich brings a wealth of public affairs experience from the private and public sectors that is as varied and creative as it is deep. I'm confident he will bring the same energy and drive to BIO that our membership brings to their life-changing innovations."

Rich Masters is leaving his home at Qorvis Communications, continuously rated as a DC “powerhouse” public affairs firm. He is a battle-tested expert at navigating the complex American political environment on behalf of numerous trade associations, multinational corporations, foreign nations and political leaders in the United States and around the globe. Masters is recognized as one of America’s top political and media relations experts and has developed a method for delivering complex policy and political messages that resonate with middle America and audiences around the world. His media training program for political debate messaging has been featured in Businessweek, the New York Times and Atlantic Monthly. He was an award-winning political journalist in Louisiana, joined the campaign of U.S. Sen. Mary L. Landrieu, D-La., in 1996, and served as her legislative and communications director for her first term. During this time, she and other centrist democrat Senate colleagues founded the Senate New Democrat Coalition.

“Working for BIO is an opportunity of a lifetime,” said Masters, “because the companies that are BIO are the epicenter of every single life-saving innovation we will see for the rest of my life. I will fight to ensure that political leaders understand that they can either work with these companies and be partners in innovation or they can be roadblocks that could delay or even kill that innovation. I’m excited to join Jim and the entire BIO team to tackle this critical challenge head on.”

Over the last year, BIO undertook a comprehensive review of its public affairs functions to assess our future needs. As a result of that review, BIO split its prior public affairs department into two new, separate departments, each to be led by an EVP. Jeanne Haggerty was named to the new position of EVP for government affairs and external relations last summer. BIO is now taking the second step and creating a new EVP position to focus on a much broader and more integrated communications, branding and marketing strategy for the organization.

As part of this restructuring and transition, BIO's current Senior Vice President for Communications Ken Lisaius announced that he will be departing the organization as of June 14th. Greenwood thanked Lisaius for his service as SVP for BIO since 2013. 

"Ken's tenure at BIO coincided with perhaps the most challenging communications environment our industry has ever seen, and he worked to grow our communications capabilities, staffing, and resources to address this challenge," Greenwood said. "We appreciate Ken's efforts to advance our communications activities over the past six years, and under Rich's new and expanded communications role, we will seek to build on these efforts."