Emma Walmsley has been appointed as the new chief executive of Britain’s largest pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline.
Ms Walmsley, head of GSK consumer healthcare, will replace current chief Sir Andrew Witty in March 2017.
The 46-year-old married mother of four will be the £80 billion firm’s first female chief executive.
Emma Walmsley received an MA in Classics and Modern Languages from Oxford University.
Walmsley joined GSK in 2010 after spending 17 years at L’Oréal – where she led the company’s Chinese consumer products business and oversaw brands such as L’Oréal Paris, Maybelline and Garnier.
Since its creation in March 2015, Walmsley has served as the CEO of GSK Consumer Healthcare, a Joint Venture between GSK and Novartis which develops and markets products in Wellness, Oral Health, Nutrition and Skin Health – in 2015 it reported a turnover of £6bn.
Ms Walmsley said in a statement: “I am delighted and honoured to be appointed GSK’s next CEO. GSK is a company that leads both in science and in the way it does business. We have momentum in the Group and as the demand for medical innovation and trusted healthcare products continues to rise, we have the opportunity and the potential to create meaningful benefits for patients, consumers and our shareholders.
“I’m looking forward to working with Andrew and other leaders over the next few months to ensure a smooth handover and to develop plans for 2017 and beyond.”
She will join the GSK Board of Directors from 1 January 2017.
Philip Hampton, GSK Chairman, said: “I am very pleased to announce Emma’s appointment, after what has been a very thorough and rigorous global selection process carried out by the GSK Board of Directors.
“Emma is an outstanding leader with highly valuable experience of building and running major global businesses and a strong track record of delivering growth and driving performance in healthcare. Under Andrew’s leadership, GSK has successfully developed into a company with market-leading positions in pharmaceuticals, vaccines and consumer healthcare. These provide excellent platforms for sustainable, long-term growth, and we are confident Emma will successfully build on these strengths.”