GSK’s chairman Sir Philip Hampton steps down

GlaxoSmithKline is searching for a new chairman after Sir Philip Hampton announced he is to step down in the wake of the company’s split into two businesses.

Citing a company statement, Reuters reported that Hampton will leave after more than three and a half years in the role.

The company’s CEO Emma Walmsley has announced plans to split the company into two business, one focusing on prescription drugs and vaccines, while the other is a joint venture with Pfizer combining the two companies’ over-the-counter drug portfolios.

The joint venture with Pfizer will have sales of around £9.8 billion and will be 68% owned by the British company.

Hampton said in a statement: “Following the announcement of our deal with Pfizer and the intended separation of the new consumer business, I believe this is the right moment to step down and allow a new chair to oversee this process through to its conclusion over the next few years.”

Seen as instrumental in the appointment of Emma Walmsley as CEO, the first time a woman has headed a major pharma company, Hampton is chair of the Hampton-Alexander Review on FTSE Women Leaders, an independent review on improving gender balance in board rooms.

Hampton has chaired several major FTSE-listed companies, including the Royal Bank of Scotland Group, and J Sainsbury plc.

He has also served as finance director at companies including Lloyds TSB Group, BT Group, and British Gas.

Hampton has decided to quit at a time when Walmsley is seeking to change the shape of the company after her appointment in 2017.

Along with the decision to spin off the consumer business arm, Walmsley has revived the company’s interest in oncology drugs.

It had previously sold this area of its business to Novartis as part of a multi-billion pound swap deal, under former CEO Sir Andrew Witty.

But GSK last month bought the US oncology drugs firm Tesaro for $5.1 billion, gaining access to its already approved PARP inhibitor class drug Zejula (niraparib).

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