GSK has announced that Emma Walmsley will become its new Chief Executive, replacing Andrew Witty who is retiring in March next year.
Walmsley is currently CEO of GSK’s Consumer Healthcare division, which was established in 2015 following its tie-up with Novartis. Prior to this, 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 from L’Oreal where, over the course of her 17-year career, she held a variety of marketing and general management roles in the UK, Europe, Asia, and the US.
Walmsley will join the GSK Board of Directors from 1 January 2017.
Philip Hampton, GSK Chairman, commented: “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.
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 healthcare.”
Walmsley added: “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 healthcare 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.”
Witty announced in March that he would step down from his role after nearly a decade in charge.
Reports suggested the decision to appoint Walmsley may disappoint major shareholders who have been critical of the company’s structure with some calling for a break-up of its diverse portfolio of businesses. Analysts said that her appointment could be seen as a signal that GSK will retain its consumer business as a core part of its operations.