GSK's CEO says it's 'difficult to understand how company is doing'

GSK CEO Andrew Witty

GlaxoSmithKline's ($GSK) CEO Andrew Witty, who has been accused by major investors of "not doing a very good job" and is in the crosshairs of hedge funds looking to unseat him and other members of his management team, said in a recent interview in India that it is "difficult to understand how the company is doing because so much has changed."

The CEO and some of his top management have been described by investors as being in a "strategic cul-de-sac."

Still, he told the Economic Times in India that "in terms of the broad areas, we are ahead (of the target) in integrating the business, we have been able to do well in the vaccines business and pursue better results in delivering new products from our main pharmaceutical business.

"In our third quarter only, we have been able to generate about $1billion from the products that were approved after January 2012, that represents about 14% of our global pharmaceutical sales. It is also one of the highest sales any major drug company in the world has achieved," he said in the report. 

Witty made the remarks as GSK gets set to report fourth quarter earnings.

The majority of the interview with the Economic Times was taken up with Witty's pledge that GlaxoSmithKline "is committed to offering all its new drugs in India affordable prices" and how the company is committed to the country.

"We see India as a home for GSK," he told the Economic Times. "GSK has established a strong pharmaceutical and consumer healthcare business. It surprises many that about a third of all the pharmaceutical products in the world that we make are sold in India. India is actually our most important market by volumes. With that said, GSK has a deep commitment to make available in India all the technologies at an affordable price."

Witty's comment about performance may have been offhand, but it remains an interesting remark for the CEO of a multinational that has investors chomping at the bit to replace the management and break up the company.

- here's the report from the Economic Times