GlaxoSmithKline is no more: Meet the scaled down 'GSK'

More than two decades ago, Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham combined to become GlaxoSmithKline. But as the British Big Pharma looks to slim down its organization with its consumer demerger, its longstanding name is getting the same treatment.

Out with the GlaxoSmithKline moniker and in with the three-letter acronym: GSK. On Monday, the company made the three letters—which have regularly been used by journalists and in conversation to refer to the company—its official name.

This comes as the pharma is looking to spin out its consumer business, to be known as Haleon, which will be the largest London listing of a company in more than 10 years.

Amid this change, the company had been calling itself the “New GSK,” though mainly to separate it from the consumer biz.

The move to GSK (there will be no “New” in the name) isn’t a direct result of the demerger, but rather for simplicity’s sake, said a source familiar with the situation. Simply put, that’s what everyone inside the company already calls it, so it’s making legal what is largely already used among staffers.

GSK said in an official statement that “the London Stock Exchange and the New York Stock Exchange will reflect the change of name in due course,” though it did not give details.

It is only the latest Big Pharma to shake up its naming conventions as the company’s French counterpart Sanofi has also this year gone down the same track. Back in February, and more than a decade after buying the U.S. biotech, it moved the Sanofi Genzyme unit under the “Sanofi” branding. The same went for its much older vaccines unit, Sanofi Pasteur.

That change came 11 years after ditching its former Aventis name. Like GSK, it’s now just Sanofi, whatever the business unit.

This follows on from the example set by the tech industry: Using a simple, one-word-and-done naming method has clearly worked well for the likes of Apple, Samsung, Amazon, Twitter and Tesla.