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Gerbig, Snell/Weisheimer & Associates (GSW) Co-Founder Bob Gerbig Dies

Advertising Visionary Created What is Now One of the World’s Largest Healthcare Agencies

Columbus, OH-November 29, 2011–GSW Worldwide today announced the news that Robert L. (Bob) Gerbig, the visionary co-founder and former CEO of Gerbig, Snell/Weisheimer & Associates (GSW), has died at 66.

“Bob was a close friend and a mentor to me for many years -- Someone whose advice I often sought after throughout my career,” said Blane Walter, Vice Chairman of inVentiv Health, the now parent company of GSW Worldwide. “He was not only a consummate professional and visionary, he was a great friend and family man. Bob’s drive not only spearheaded innovative practices, he forever changed the industry by proving that an advertising agency does not need to be based in New York or Chicago to be successful.”

As the co-founder of what is today one of the world's largest healthcare advertising agencies, Bob began his career in pharmaceuticals in 1969 with Marion Merrell-Dow, Inc., where he held various positions in sales, marketing and merchandising. He then moved to Abbott Laboratories, Ross Products Division, where he became the youngest product manager in the company. Four years later he was promoted to director of pharmaceutical product management. Although his career was on the fast track, Bob’s true ambition was to be an entrepreneur. In 1977, he left Abbott and teamed with Rick Weisheimer and Chris Snell to establish Gerbig, Snell/Weisheimer & Associates (GSW) in Columbus, Ohio.

“Bob’s remarkable drive, passion and uncompromising expectations for excellence in everything we do at GSW Worldwide were the original touchstones that have fashioned an unprecedented success in the healthcare advertising industry and still today fuels our unique, entrepreneurial spirit,” said Joe Daley, president of GSW Worldwide. “We are deeply saddened by the news but are immensely proud to carry on Bob’s legacy and his GSW namesake.”

Throughout his career, Bob’s contributions to the community have been numerous. Among his many volunteer roles, he has served on the board of directors for The James Cancer Hospital and Solove Research Institute and the Columbus Association for the Performing Arts.

He was the business and industry chairman for the Central Ohio Heart Association, a member of the Center of Science and Industry’s (COSI) leadership campaign committee and long-time founding director of Cardinal Health.

In 2000, Bob co-founded the Gerbig, Snell/Weisheimer Healthcare Initiative (known as GRACE), a not-for-profit program to help provide prescription medications and healthcare services to senior citizens who cannot otherwise afford them. GRACE has donated more than $1 million to charities throughout the country that provide healthcare services for seniors in need.

The First Lady of Ohio Karen Kasich, who worked for Mr. Gerbig for several years, shared the following statement: “Bob lived large, and he loved larger. For the Governor and me, he was like one of our Great Lakes: so calm on the surface, but so deep below. In our 14-year relationship, Bob went from being my boss, to being my mentor, to being one of my closest friends and confidants. And John counted Bob as one of his biggest encouragers. But the most important thing I could tell you about Bob is that he loved his family dearly. Whenever we were together, they were all he could talk about. I will miss him immensely.”

Despite his retirement in 2000, Mr. Gerbig’s legacy of innovation and entrepreneurialism has been carried on by his successors. Today, as part of inVentiv Health, GSW Worldwide is one of the largest healthcare advertising agencies in the world.

Posted: December 2011