GCI Health has named veteran agency hand Kristin Cahill its global CEO, effective January 1. GCI’s current chief executive, Wendy Lund, will depart at year’s end to serve as chief communications officer at Organon, Merck’s women’s health spinoff company.

Cahill has spent the past five years as president of GCI Health’s North American region, the agency’s largest, and has been with the firm since 2003.

“I’ve been really energized by the reaction to the news from our staff and clients who see this as a very natural progression,” Cahill told MM+M by email. While Lund “will be missed tremendously,” she added, “I couldn’t ask for a better group of people to partner with as we look ahead.”

Cahill will report to Donna Imperato, CEO of WPP’s BCW Group. In a statement, Imperato praised Cahill’s abilities in counseling clients, recruitment and fostering a strong culture. “[Cahill] has been a key member of the exceptional GCI Health leadership team that catapulted the agency from a boutique into a global powerhouse,” she noted.

Lund had held the CEO role since 2010. Imperato called her “an incredible leader who worked tenaciously” to build the firm. She added that, under Lund, GCI Health has grown revenue exponentially and expanded from a 30-person shop to a behemoth with 16 offices across the U.S., Europe and Asia-Pacific, and one of the industry’s best-rounded marketing and communications organizations.

“Our integrated structure, the way we train our teams and our overall approach to our clients allow us to not only adapt to the transformation but also drive it forward,” Cahill said.

According to MM+M’s Agency 100 issue, GCI Health revenue rose from an estimated $62.5 million in 2018 to an estimated $77.5 million in 2019. Staff size expanded to 205 in 2019, up from 175 the year prior. According to the statement, the firm’s revenue has increased by 25% so far in 2020. 

Cahill, who was named to MM+M’s Hall of Femme in 2020 and to PRWeek’s 40 Under 40 List in 2018, currently serves on the board of directors for HealthyWomen. “I’m excited to build on the incredible foundation that Wendy created and to continue to help our clients make a profound difference in people’s lives,” Cahill stated.