GSK hires AZ’s Miels to lead pharma division

GlaxoSmithKline has hired AstraZeneca’s Luke Miels to take over running its pharma business, to replace the departing Abbas Hussain.

Miels is currently executive vice president of AZ’s European business and was previously executive vice president, global product and portfolio strategy, global medical affairs and corporate affairs.

Aside from AZ, Miels has worked for eight years at Roche, including as regional head, Asia Pacific, and held various roles at Sanofi-Aventis.

He will take over from Abbas Hussain as president of global pharmaceuticals, and will be responsible for a portfolio of medicines and vaccines with annual sales of more than £15 billion, and operations in over 100 markets.

Incoming GSK chief exec Emma Walmsley

Miels will report to Emma Walmsley, CEO designate, who will take over from Sir Andrew Witty in April. His start date has yet to be decided.

Hussain had been seen as a potential successor to Witty, following an eight-year stint at GSK, but he decided to leave the company after Walmsley landed the top job instead of him.

Noting Miels’ R&D insight and expertise at marketing drugs, Walmsley said that Miels joins at a critical period for GSK, with key products set for launch.

GSK’s sirukumab rheumatoid arthritis drug, developed in partnership with Johnson & Johnson, could be launched at the end of the year if approved by the US regulator in September.

The FDA is also set to make a decision on GSK’s Shingrix shingles vaccine in October, and the company’s highly promising triple therapy for COPD is under review by US and European regulators.

Walmsley said: “Luke will bring a strong new voice to the decisions and choices we will have to make for our Pharmaceuticals business. I am delighted he has agreed to join GSK and look forward to welcoming him to the executive team.”

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