GSK poaches Merck KGaA exec to replace departing U.S. pharma president Bailey

exit
GlaxoSmithKline's Jack Bailey will step down at the end of the year. (Christian Guiton/iStock)

GlaxoSmithKline has seen plenty of changes across its executive ranks over the last couple of years as CEO Emma Walmsley took the helm, but they’re still coming.

Monday, the company said Jack Bailey, its U.S. pharma president and a veteran at the drugmaker, would step down at the end of the year. He’ll be succeeded by Maya Martinez-Davis, who currently serves as the president of Merck KGaA’s Latin America pharma business.

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In Bailey, GSK will lose an “exceptional leader” who’s spent more than 10 years at Glaxo since joining the company from Eli Lilly, global pharma president Luke Miels said in a statement. But the pharma giant will have time to ease the transition: Martinez-Davis will come on in mid-September before officially taking the baton Jan. 1. Bailey, meanwhile, will stay on as a strategic consultant through 2020.

In Martinez-Davis, GSK is picking up an exec with experience in one of its key focus areas: oncology. After trading away its cancer assets back in early 2015, Walmsley reprioritized the field last year with pipeline moves and a $5.1 billion Tesaro deal agreement. Now, it’ll have an exec on board who in the past has served as both senior vice president of Merck KGaA’s global oncology business and as a regional president of Pfizer’s oncology portfolio in North America.

“As we continue to grow and reshape our business globally, we are pleased to have found a leader in Maya who will bring a valuable U.S. experience and deep therapy area expertise to expanding our specialty care capabilities and market presence,” Miels said.

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Bailey is just one in a sea of leaders who have departed the company since previous CEO Andrew Witty first announced his planned exit. Most recently, longtime Chief Financial Officer Simon Dingemans left in May, and next up is chairman Sir Philip Hampton, who will turn the reins over to ex-Novartis and AstraZeneca Chief Financial Officer Jonathan Symonds Aug. 31.