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GSK chief executive Andrew Witty receives knighthood

Former ABPI director general Richard Barker also recognised with OBE in New Year’s Honours list

Andrew WittySir Andrew Witty, CEO of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), has been knighted in the New Year's Honours list.

The 47 year old, who has been in charge of the UK company for four years, was recognised for services to the economy and to the UK pharmaceutical industry.

Witty joined GSK in 1985, holding various UK and global positions - including as managing director of Glaxo South Africa and area director for South and East Africa - before taking over as CEO from Frenchman Jean-Pierre Garnier in 2007.

During his time leading GSK, Witty has worked closely with both the Labour and coalition governments. He supported the former's 'patent box' initiative to encourage innovation in the UK, and was selected as lead non-executive board member at the UK Department for Business, Innovation and Skills at the beginning of 2011.

“We were delighted to see Sir Andrew Witty receive a knighthood for his pioneering leadership in one of the UK's most successful companies,” said Stephen Whitehead, CEO of the Association of the British Pharmaceutical Industry (ABPI).

“At this challenging time, encouragement for our industry is very welcome as we seek to play a dynamic role in the future recovery of the UK economy.”

Witty's achievements at GSK have gone beyond the UK too, being appointed president of the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA), in January, 2010.

Under his leadership, GSK made several efforts to improve access to medicines in developing countries, including working with the World Health Organization to expand the company's donation of albendazole for children at risk of intestinal worms, as well as agreeing a deal with Pfizer and the GAVI Alliance to supply vaccines for pneumococcal disease for use in children.

ABPI's Barker and Stageman receive OBEs

Other industry figures to be recognised in the Honours List included former director general of the ABPI, Richard Barker, who was given an OBE in recognition of his work on behalf of the research-based pharmaceutical industry.

With Barker in control, the ABPI introduced a new, stricter Code of Practice in January 2006 and began consultations with the government on a new value-based pricing scheme for drug reimbursement.

Chair of the ABPI's innovation board and vice president UK Science Affairs at AstraZeneca, John Stageman, was also honoured with an OBE.

4th January 2012

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