Weight Watchers has launched a tender process for a UK and Europe healthcare panel as the slimming group prepares to expand its business of working with state and commercial organisations in the sector.
The US company is understood to have sent requests for applications to a number of UK firms including City leaders and specialist healthcare firms, with the review set for completion by the end of the year.
The move comes amid Weight Watchers’ burgeoning plans to grow its healthcare operations in response to the increased prevalence of data linking obesity to diseases such as diabetes. Likely areas of expansion include carrying out more assignments referred to the organisation by NHS clinicians and increasing its activities sponsoring health initiatives or clinical trials in the private sector.
It is understood that the procurement process is being overseen by assistant general counsel Richard Reade, who joined Weight Watchers last year in the newly created role from Danish service provider ISS. He was handed responsibility for the company’s non-US operations (3 February 2012).
Weight Watchers already operates a general US panel consisting of white-shoe firms, as well as a separate European panel. Its strongest relationship in Europe is with Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer, which takes the bulk of its high-end corporate work, with Osborne Clarke also winning mandates.
Weight Watchers declined to comment.