Scott Cotherman lives for the future. He predicts where the healthcare world is going, and works hard to shape the future into something we can all embrace. For 35 years, Scott used his visionary talents through his work at CAHG, his leadership of organizations such as the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame, and his philanthropy and industry-building charitable endeavors.
Scott graduated from Ball State University with a BS in business administration and psychology, and attended graduate school at the University of Chicago. His first job was in human resources with American Hospital Supply Corporation (now part of Baxter), followed by sales with Ormco, a leader in the orthodontic supplies business. It was at Ormco that, as a client, Scott was first exposed to the healthcare advertising industry. He approached one of the founders of Dimensional Marketing, Inc. (DMI), and asked for a job. After five years at DMI he made the move to Frank J. Corbett, Inc. (now Corbett Accel Healthcare Group [CAHG],) where he rose to CEO.
Scott was only the agency’s third CEO. In his 27 years with the agency, 15 as CEO, Scott guided CAHG and the TBWA\WorldHealth network to a Top 10 industry position. The agency served multinational healthcare manufacturers such as Alcon, Bayer, Bristol-Myers Squibb, Gilead, Merck, Otsuka America, Roche Diagnostics, and Sanofi, among others. Scott’s singular focus was always securing the present by investing in the future. He believed leadership talent, surrounded by the right culture, would develop leadership brands, and successful brands would ultimately create more enduring success for the agency. To this day, 80 percent of the agency’s SVPs have been with the agency for five years or more, and every member of the current senior leadership team has been with CAHG for 10 years or more.
As a result of all of these accomplishments, Scott and CAHG received significant industry recognition. He was named to PharmaVoice’s inaugural list of the 100 Most Inspiring People in the Healthcare Industry. CAHG received the Vision Award from Medical Advertising News for its innovative personalized healthcare practice, which was cited as best representing the healthcare communications agency of the future.
Scott pushed clients to “be bold or be forgotten.” Under his leadership, many number one brands were born and remained leaders for decades. CAHG enjoyed 13 years as AOR for ABILIFY. Despite being the sixth atypical antipsychotic to enter this crowded market, ABILIFY was named one of the top 10 launches of its time and became the number one brand in U.S. sales prior to patent expiry in May of 2015. Other successful case studies include SOVALDI and HARVONI, recently recognized as the number one and number two best launches in pharmaceutical history.
Scott understood the importance of scale. He led the expansion of CAHG from a Chicago-based agency to an agency with a strong presence in New York and San Francisco and grew the agency’s global footprint by singularly aligning with TBWA\WorldHealth, where he became chairman of the network, spanning 48 offices across 36 countries.
Scott has been an enthusiastic supporter of the Coalition for Healthcare Communication (CHC). Scott was the first among agency leaders to alert the Coalition to the danger created by a legislative proposal, later a statute, passed by Vermont and other states that banned the marketing use of prescription data by biopharmaceutical companies. “Under Scott’s leadership, the Coalition immediately focused on the issue, and created an informal industry coalition that supported a legal challenge to the Vermont law,” says John Kamp. That challenge led to the landmark US Supreme Court decision in IMS v. Sorrell, which found that drug marketing was protected by the First Amendment and that the Vermont law was unconstitutional.
Scott’s focus on the future was a cornerstone of his three-year tenure as Chairperson of the Medical Advertising Hall of Fame. He recognized that the organization needed to evolve, to broaden its mission and be reflective of the needs of the rapidly changing industry. Scott oversaw efforts to change the Awards Dinner format, publish a second volume of Medicine Avenue, and establish educational resources for the next generation of industry professionals.
Scott’s charitable efforts were devoted to developing the future of healthcare industry talent. He founded the FJC Health Marketing Scholarship Foundation, the only 501(c)(3) charitable organization within a healthcare agency providing scholarships to students pursuing a career in healthcare advertising. Scott also founded KidConnect, a unique eight-week intensive program with primary school students to raise awareness about healthcare advertising as a career while educating students about the importance of healthy habits.
After concluding his career in healthcare communications, Scott has continued investing in the future of our industry as an advisor to business leaders, angel investor to early-stage healthcare companies, and mentor to entrepreneurs that desire to bring innovative products and services to market.