GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has announced the appointment of Emma Walmsley as its new chief executive. It will make her the first woman to lead a global pharmaceutical company.
Walmsley, 47, is currently CEO of GSK’s Consumer Healthcare division, and will succeed Andrew Witty when he retires from the post in early 2017.
The appointment also makes Walmsley the seventh female CEO within the FTSE 100, joining Alison Brittain at Whitbread; Alison Cooper at Imperial Brands; Carolyn McCall at EasyJet; Moya Greene at Royal Mail; Liv Garfield at Severn Trent; and Veronique Laury at Kingfisher.
In 2010 Walmsley joined GSK as the head of Consumer Healthcare from L’Oreal, where she held various roles her 17-year tenure with the beauty brand. She will also become a member of the board of directors from 1 January 2017.
Walmsley said: “I am delighted and honoured to be appointed GSK’s next CEO. 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.”
GSK chairman Philip Hampton, added: “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.
“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, long-term growth, and we are confident Emma will successfully build on these strengths.”