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First female CEO to lead GSK as Emma Walmsley succeeds Andrew Witty

20 September 2016  •  Author: Niamh Louise Marriott, Digital Content Producer

GSK today announced that Emma Walmsley, currently CEO of GSK’s Consumer Healthcare division, is appointed GSK CEO Designate and will succeed Andrew Witty as GSK CEO, when he retires on 31st March 2017. She will be the first female CEO of a major global pharmaceuticals company.

Emma Walmsley

Emma Walmsley

Emma will join the GSK Board of Directors from 1 January 2017.

Previous roles

Emma is currently CEO of GSK Consumer Healthcare, one of the world’s largest consumer health companies, established in 2015 following completion of GSK’s three-part transaction with Novartis.

Prior to this, Emma was President of GSK Consumer Healthcare and has been a member of GSK’s Corporate Executive Team since 2011.

Emma 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 and USA. From 2007 she was based in Shanghai as General Manager, Consumer Products for L’Oreal China.

Philip Hampton, GSK Chairman, 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.”

“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.”

Emma 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.”

Women at the top

Walmsley will be one of just six female chief executives in the FTSE 100. EasyJet, Imperial Brands, Whitbread, Royal Mail and Kingfisher are also run by women.

GSK, with a market value of £80bn, is more than twice as big as the next largest female-led company, the tobacco company Imperial Brands, which is valued at £37bn.

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