GSK names Walmsley as Witty successor
- GlaxoSmithKline announced Tuesday morning its head of Consumer Healthcare Emma Walmsley will succeed current CEO Andrew Witty when he retires on March 31, 2017.
- Witty's departure was announced by the British pharma this past March. Witty is one of several big pharma and biotech CEOs who have decided this to step down from their post.
- After 17 years at L'Oreal, Walmsley joined GSK in 2011 as president of consumer healthcare. She was promoted to CEO of Consumer Healthcare when GSK bought Novartis' consumer division in 2015.
Walmsley will be the first female to helm a big pharma and will likely be a welcome change for investors.
"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," said GSK Chairman Philip Hampton in a statement.
While Witty was not publicly forced out, many critics of the company were not sad to hear he would be leaving. GSK has faced a number of problems during his tenure as CEO, including inherited bribery scandals and slow revenue growth.
Most of the bribery charges and settlements reached over the last several years related to conduct in emerging markets. GSK was also criticized for pulling away from oncology in 2015 when it made its major asset swap with Novartis, just as many big pharma competitors were delving deeper into the space.
Follow Lisa LaMotta on Twitter