Relevate Health has tapped highly regarded pharma vet Tim Pantello as CEO. He replaces company co-founder Jeff Spanbauer, who becomes chairman of the Relevate board of directors.

Pantello, who most recently served as global president of Syneos Health Communications, has held leadership posts at PwC, Digitas Health, Tribal DDB and Havas. He started his career at Sanofi in a sales role.

The addition comes as Relevate continues to grow in size – it saw revenue grow 44%, to $40.6 million, in 2021, according to the MM+M Agency 100 – and evolve its offering to more effectively engage with healthcare providers. 

The company has expanded with a handful of significant acquisitions in the last two years, including health-tech specialist Arteric, rep engagement firm Axon Communications and HCP recruitment network ConneXion360. The purchases were bankrolled in part by Relevate’s private equity partner Mountaingate Capital.

“We’ve grown tremendously in the last couple of years and we were looking for somebody who has done this before,” Spanbauer said. “Tim has an incredible experience base. We were lucky to find him.”

Pantello will steer Relevate on a day-to-day basis, with Spanbauer focusing his attention on acquisitions and other strategic considerations.

While Relevate pales next to Syneos in sheer size – Pantello had been overseeing a team of 1,300, versus the 200-and-counting he’ll lead at Relevate – he said he covets the opportunity to join an organization in the middle of a growth spurt.

“It’s a unique opportunity, in terms of the breadth of HCP engagement products and the data and the local influence,” he explained. “There’s differentiation in the marketplace and it’s a situation where we can acquire additional capabilities over time. The timing was perfect.”

Pantello was formally introduced to Relevate staffers at a town hall meeting led by Spanbauer on Monday afternoon. The pair will travel to the company’s offices in Cincinnati today and Boston tomorrow, with stops in New Jersey and Dallas next week.

“That we were able to attract someone like Tim, who had a great job at a great company, says a lot about who we are now,” Spanbauer added.