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GlaxoSmithKline tabs consumer health chief as CEO

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Walmsley set to succeed Witty upon his retirement

LONDON — Emma Walmsley has been named to succeed Sir Andrew Witty as chief executive officer of GlaxoSmithKline plc.

The drug maker said Tuesday that Walmsley, CEO of GSK Consumer Healthcare, is slated to take the reins from Witty when he retires on March 31, 2017. Plans call for her to become a member of the GSK board of directors as of Jan. 1, 2017.

“I am delighted and honored to be appointed GSK’s next CEO,” Walmsley said in a statement. “GSK is a company that leads both in science and in the way it does business. We have momentum in the group, and as the demand for medical innovation and trusted health care products continues to rise, we have the opportunity and the potential to create meaningful benefits for patients, consumers and our shareholders.

“I’m looking forward to working with Andrew and other leaders over the next few months to ensure a smooth handover and to develop plans for 2017 and beyond,” she added.

Walmsley has served as the chief of GSK Consumer Healthcare since GSK and Novartis formed the joint venture in March 2015. Prior to that, she was president of GSK Consumer Healthcare and has been a member of GSK’s corporate executive team since 2011. She joined GSK in 2010, overseeing consumer health care for Europe.

Andrew Witty_GSK CEO_headshot

Sir Andrew Witty

Before coming to GSK, Walmsley worked with L’Oreal for 17 years, holding a range of marketing and general management posts in Paris, London and New York. From 2007, she was based in Shanghai as general manager of consumer products for L’Oreal China, the pharmaceutical company said.

“I am very pleased to announce Emma’s appointment, after what has been a very thorough and rigorous global selection process carried out by the GSK board of directors,” stated GSK chairman Philip Hampton. “Emma is an outstanding leader with highly valuable experience of building and running major global businesses and a strong track record of delivering growth and driving performance in health care.”

Witty has been chief executive of GSK since May 2008. He joined GSK in 1985 and has held a variety of sales and marketing roles in the United Kingdom and abroad, including in the company’s International New Products groups, both in the respiratory and HIV/infectious disease fields. Outside the U.K., he has worked in South Africa, the United States and Singapore, where he led the group’s operations as senior vice president for Asia-Pacific. In 2003, he was appointed president of GSK Europe and joined the company’s corporate executive team.

Witty was awarded a Knighthood for services to the economy and the U.K. pharmaceutical industry in 2012, and he was appointed as a business ambassador for the U.K. government in 2014.

“Under Andrew’s leadership, GSK has successfully developed into a company with market-leading positions in pharmaceuticals, vaccines and consumer health care,” Hampton commented. “These provide excellent platforms for sustainable, long-term growth, and we are confident Emma will successfully build on these strengths.”


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