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GSK appoints new CEO

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has finally appointed a successor to its CEO Jean-Pierre Garnier by appointing Andrew Witty as CEO designate.

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has finally appointed a successor to its CEO Jean-Pierre Garnier by appointing Andrew Witty as CEO designate.

Witty - currently president, pharmaceuticals Europe - will succeed Garnier when he retires at the end of May 2008.

Witty has been competing openly for the job for the past two years, along with Chris Viehbacher, president of GSK's US business, and David Stout, president of pharma operations for GSK.

"Andrew's appointment follows a rigorous selection process by the Board of Directors. The fact that we have been able to select a successor to JP from three strong internal candidates is a testament to the quality of management at GSK. The Board is confident that Andrew will build on JPπs considerable achievements," said Sir Christopher Gent, chairman, GSK.

Witty has been with GSK since 1985 and has held various positions in the UK, including director of pharmacy and distribution, internal product manager and numerous sales and marketing positions.

He later served as managing director, Glaxo South Africa and area director for South and East Africa. Immediately prior to his move to Asia Pacific, he was vice-president and general manager, marketing, for Glaxo Wellcome - the company's US subsidiary - where he had responsibility for strategy development, marketing execution and new product positioning.

It will not be smooth sailing for Witty; GSK has faced troubled times recently with the safety profile of its diabetes drug Avandia (rosiglitazone), which has been linked to an increase in cardiovascular conditions.

Analysts are seeing the appointment as a 'minor positive', although they note that it could lead to the departure of both Viehbacher and Stout

30th September 2008

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