GSK dealmaking spawns management shake-up, putting Slaoui and Hussain in top slots

Moncef Slaoui

With a three-part, multibillion-dollar transaction with Novartis ($NVS) set to close next year, changes are on the way for GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK)--and, fittingly, for its top management ranks, too.

At the center: R&D chief Moncef Slaoui will shift over to chair the vaccines unit--soon to be bolstered by a $7.1 buyout of most of the Swiss pharma's vaccines portfolio--effective immediately. Patrick Vallance, who had run R&D on a day-to-day basis, will be stepping in to take the reins.

Slaoui, who radically altered the British drugmaker's drug development process with a reorg focused on small units of scientists, "will take more focused accountability for vaccines, ensuring we fully leverage the value of his knowledge and experience," a GSK spokeswoman Mary Anne Rhyne told FiercePharma by email.

The move is part of an effort to "ensure that our leaders are focused and aligned" around pharmaceuticals, vaccines and consumer healthcare--another business that will get a boost from the Novartis swap as the companies team up on a joint venture. GSK's consumer health president, Emma Walmsley, will be heading up that partnership, with Glaxo controlling a 63.5% stake.

On the pharma side, emerging markets chief Abbas Hussain--who, if you'll recall, last year publicly apologized to China's government and offered price cuts in penance for the company's $489 million doctor bribery scandal--will assume the role of global pharmaceuticals president, and he'll have North American pharma president Dierdre Connelly reporting to him, Rhyne said.

And they'll have their work cut out for them: In the third quarter, Glaxo reported pharmaceutical sales down 12% in the U.S., thanks in part to an 18% respiratory plunge. Megablockbuster Advair powered that decline, with increased competition helping take a 25% bite out of the aging behemoth's top-line haul.

- read the release (PDF)

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