FT sources: RBS' Hampton top contender to succeed Glaxo chair

Sir Philip Hampton

A bribery scandal in China, with other probes ongoing in the Middle East and Europe. Mounting competition to declining top drug Advair. And so-far-lackluster launches of the products tabbed as future respiratory stars.

So, who wants to be GlaxoSmithKline's next chairman?

According to the Financial Times, Sir Philip Hampton does. The current chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland and a former Vodafone CEO is the front-runner to succeed GSK's ($GSK) Sir Christopher Gent, with an appointment likely coming up in the next few months.

Chairing Glaxo these days is no easy task. Shares have sunk nearly a fifth in the past year, the FT notes, and the company last month took its earnings guidance for 2014 down a peg. Rivals are champing at the bit to get at a piece of aging giant Advair's $8-billion-a-year haul, and a 24% Q2 sales drop for the med revealed that some of them were already doing a pretty good job.

That's not to mention the sluggish sales respiratory newcomers Anoro and Breo turned out last quarter, coming in below analysts' expectations. Some have blamed the British drugmaker's revamped, quota-free marketing model for the slow start--a system it adopted as part of an effort to clean up its act amid a $489 million Chinese bribery scandal (with probes popping up in Poland, Syria and elsewhere, too).

But Hampton may be up to the challenge, the paper pointed out, calling his current stint at RBS one of the most challenging boardroom roles in the banking industry. He took the reins during the financial crisis in 2009, following the bank's £45 billion bailout by the government.

- read the FT's story (sub. req.)

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