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Former RBS head takes the reins as GSK chair

Philip Hampton comes in at a tumultuous time for the firm

Sir Philip HamptonSir Philip Hampton has become GlaxoSmithKline's new chairman as the company enters into a crucial year.

Sir Philip, formerly the chair of the Royal Bank of Scotland, replaces Sir Christopher Gent, who announced he would step down from the position last year.

Not averse to joining large firms during a period of disaster, Sir Philip took over as RBS chairman in 2009 following the bank's bailout during the financial crisis.

Sir Philip had to not only steer RBS through choppy financial waters there, but also deal with the fallout of its previous chief executive Fred Goodwin, who stepped down in early 2009, just as it was announced that the firm had lost £24bn for the previous year.

The UK's biggest drugmaker will certainly be hoping this level of experience can be applied by Sir Philip towards rebuilding GSK's reputation in China following the bribery scandal of the past year, and to develop new products in order to offset the decline of its best-selling asthma drug, Advair, as part of his new remit.

GSK would also have been attracted to Sir Philip's string of previous high profile appointments that comprise being chairman of Sainsbury's; finance director at Lloyds TSB; BT; British Gas and British Steel; an executive director of Lazards and a non-executive director at RMC and Belgacom.

He is also a former chairman of UK Financial Investments, which manages the UK government's shareholdings in banks.

This week Sir Philip backed GSK's under fire CEO Sir Andrew Witty, who has weathered a tough two years of scandals and continually falling sales.

He said: “[Sir] Andrew has the complete support of the board. There are always shareholders who have points to make, but I certainly hope Andrew is here for a good while to come.”

He added that there is no “hard and fast rule” about how long chief executives should serve.

Article by
Ben Adams

11th May 2015

From: Sales

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