Photo credit: Sandor Welsh Photography/Creative Commons

Johnson & Johnson has appointed Michael Sneed, its worldwide VP of global corporate affairs, to the additional role of chief communications officer, the healthcare company said Monday morning.

He will continue to manage the global communication and public affairs organization at J&J, which he has done since 2012, alongside his new position. He will also continue to sit on the company’s management committee.

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Sneed is succeeding Maggie FitzPatrick, who said in February that she was stepping down from the role after nearly three years. He began overseeing FitzPatrick’s direct reports in the interim while the company conducted a search for her replacement.

Sneed joined J&J in 1983 as a marketing assistant. He moved to the company’s McNeil Consumer Products division and eventually moved up from group product director to VP of worldwide consumer pharmaceuticals. Sneed also spent time in Europe as MD, then returned to the U.S. as global president of the personal products company and company group chairman, then finally as worldwide VP of global corporate affairs.

Last April, J&J said it was planning to redesign its global operating model for its communications function to help it keep up with the rapidly changing healthcare marketplace. FitzPatrick said at the time that J&J was making investments in digital and social, along with insights and analytics, as part of the reorganization and said she wanted to bring the company’s 150 agency partners in line with its vision. The healthcare giant centralized its global communications structure under FitzPatrick last year.

See also: J&J prepares to defend Remicade market share

J&J is facing a number of lawsuits challenging the safety of its talc-based products. In February, the company was ordered by a state jury in Missouri to pay $72 million in damages to the family of a woman who died from ovarian cancer who claimed the disease was linked to her use of J&J products. After a similar case, the company was ordered to pay $55 million to a South Dakota woman earlier this month.

New Brunswick, New Jersey-based J&J is the parent of more than 265 companies in 60-plus countries and has 126,500 employees, according to its website. It reported $17.5 billion in revenue in the first quarter of this year, matching analysts’ expectations.

This story originally appeared in PRWeek.