GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has appointed its Head of Consumer Healthcare, Emma Walmsley as chief executive officer, to lead the British drugs giant and develop new treatments in a fast-consolidating sector.
According to a statement from the company, Walmsley, who joined GSK from French cosmetics giant, L’Oreal six years ago, has a background in marketing. Walmsley, 47, succeeds outgoing Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Andrew Witty, who will retire from the company early next year, after almost a decade at the helm.
According to the statement, Walmsley would join six other women who currently head one of the 100 companies listed on London’s benchmark FTSE index, but would oversee the largest of the seven, which include EasyJet, led by Carolyn McCall.
The company added that details of Walmsley’s salary would be disclosed next year. The company employs around 100,000 people in United Kingdom, Nigeria, Ghana, United States and other countries across the world.
The global pharmaceutical sector has undergone major consolidation in recent years, as companies battle competition for generic versions of their drugs. In the past month, US giant, Pfizer, announced a deal to purchase biotech firm Medivation, which specialises in cancer treatments, for $14 billion (12.5 billion euros).
Google and French pharmaceutical giant, Sanofi, have, meanwhile, agreed a joint venture focused on diabetes care. For its part, GSK agreed in 2014 to sell its oncology business to Novartis for $16 billion, while buying the Swiss group’s vaccines division in return.
The pair also formed a joint venture for consumer health products, headed by Walmsley. “Walmsley 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,” GSK chairman Philip Hampton said in a statement.
“Under Andrew’s leadership, GSK has successfully developed into a company with market-leading positions in pharmaceuticals, vaccines and consumer healthcare. These provide excellent platforms for sustainable, longterm growth,” the company added.