GlaxoSmithKline shakes up management to aid innovation
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GlaxoSmithKline shakes up management to aid innovation

Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has shaken up its management team in an effort to bring in new ideas. Emma Walmsley, who became CEO of the group last March, has been grabbing headlines for her bold approach to leadership. Since taking the reigns, she has replaced 50 of the company’s top managers – a full 40% of GSK’s management team – shaking up every department from oncology to consumer healthcare.   

GSK’s share price has appreciated by 7% in the first two weeks of the year

graph 0118 glaxosmithklinke

SOURCE: Yahoo Finance

Walmsley has hired a number of outsiders to fill some of these positions, such as Calico veteran Hal Barron, who is now GSK’s chief science officer. She has made a point of hiring from companies with a strong reputation for innovation, like Google, Novartis and Teva, in an effort to get some new ideas circulating in GSK’s backrooms.

She is also embracing the “information economy” by creating the position of chief digital officer for the first time, and employing Karenann Terrell, former chief information officer at Walmart, to occupy the role. There, Terrell, will apply new technology in data analytics and cloud computing in an effort to speed up drug development.

One area, however, where Walmsley is less gung-ho is the possible acquisition of Pfizer’s over-the-counter business. This segment could be a boost for GSK’s consumer healthcare business – but Walmsley’s playing her cards close to her chest. In a recent interview with CNBC, she said:

We are one of the world leaders in consumer healthcare. We have a strong record of integrating businesses successfully, so you’d expect us to have a look at it. But frankly, we don’t need to do this deal. We certainly won’t overpay for it. And nothing is going to cut across our number one priority, which is our pharma business, and really focusing on building that pipeline for the next wave of growth.


Dominion holds GlaxoSmithKline in its Global Trends Managed Fund.

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