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And a New Era at GSK

Back in March of this year, Andrew Witty announced that he would retire from the role of GlaxoSmithKline’s CEO as of March 2017. Since then, the company has been looking for a replacement – and has now found one. Emma Walmsley, currently CEO of GSK’s Consumer Healthcare division, has been selected as Witty’s successor. She will join the company’s Board of Directors from January 2017 and formally take over as CEO on March 31, 2017 (1).

Prior to GSK, Walmsley spent 17 years working for L’Oreal, working in both Europe, the US and China. She is reported to have first met Andrew Witty in 2010 at a networking lunch where an “inspiring conversation ended up spiralling into a job offer alarmingly fast” (2). Her first role at GSK was President of Consumer Healthcare in Europe in 2011. In 2015, she was appointed CEO of GSK’s Consumer Healthcare division.

In a statement, GSK’s Chairman, Philip Hampton, described Walmsley as “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 healthcare.”

Some investors and analysts have previously questioned GSK’s continuing focus on consumer health, but the new appointment would suggest that the company intends to retain this business as an important part of its operations.

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  1. PhRMA, “Emma Walmsley to succeed Andrew Witty as Chief Executive Officer of GlaxoSmithKline”, (2016). Available at: Accessed September 20, 2016.
  2. Lean In, “Emma Walmsley, President, GSK Consumer Healthcare”. Available at: Accessed September 20, 2016.
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