GSK loses North American chief

A $5 million retention bonus apparently wasn't enough to keep Chris Viehbacher (photo) at GlaxoSmithKline. One of the three top GSK execs in the race to succeed Jean-Pierre Garnier as CEO, Viehbacher was passed over in favor of Andrew Witty (photo), who took over officially after the company's annual meeting this spring. To keep Viehbacher at the head of North American operations, GSK gave him a seat on the company's board and a $5 million bonus to be paid in two parts, according to Pharmalot, half at the end of this year, the other half at the end of 2011. David Stout (photo), who also made a bid for the CEO spot, left the company after he was passed over for the top spot.

Well, he won't make it to either date. Viehbacher resigned his board seat effective immediately, and he'll leave the company altogether December 1. In a statement, Witty thanked Viehbacher for "his significant contribution" to the company and wished him well "in his future endeavors." We wonder what those future endeavors will be.

- see the GSK release
- read the Pharmalot post

GSK's Viehbacher picked as Sanofi CEO