GSK shuffles execs and streamlines businesses as vaccines chief Connor heads for the exit

Now unburdened by its consumer health division, GSK is streamlining its drug and vaccines businesses and shuffling executives in turn.

On the quest to simplify its operations in a post-Haleon world, GSK is “bringing together our medicines and vaccines manufacturing networks, and equivalent commercial operations, in one place,” a company spokesperson said via email Tuesday.

Amid the shift in priorities, 25-year veteran Roger Connor is departing his post as GSK’s president of vaccines and global health “to take a new role in healthcare, outside biopharma,” the spokesperson added.

With Connor headed for the exit, Luke Miels, GSK’s chief commercial officer, “will assume full accountability for strategic commercial product development of vaccines,” working together with R&D and supply, the spokesperson said. 

The move comes as GSK angles to position itself as the world’s “leading vaccines company” over next decade—an ambition Connor himself laid out last year ahead of GSK’s consumer health separation. Shingles vaccine Shingrix currently forms GSK’s “crown jewel” in those efforts, but the company is also banking on boosted sales from its meningitis franchise, and its respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) contender RSVPreF3 recently turned out strong phase 3 results, putting it neck-and-neck with a would-be rival from Pfizer.

Elsewhere along GSK’s upper echelons, Regis Simard, president of global supply chain at the British Big Pharma, is taking charge of supply for both vaccines and drugs, GSK’s spokesperson continued in her email.

Finally, ViiV Healthcare’s CEO Deborah Waterhouse will take the reins at GSK Global Health. Endpoints News first reported the changes Tuesday.

It has been a year of big change at the top of GSK. Aside from Tuesday’s executive shuffle, the company announced it would be hiring its first female chief financial officer, Julie Brown, back in late September. Brown, who previously served for 25 years at crosstown rival AstraZeneca, is set to replace GSK’s Iain Mackay, who plans to depart in May 2023. Mackay guided the spinoff of GSK’s consumer health unit, Haleon, which wrapped up in July.

Meanwhile, GSK’s four-year chief scientist Hal Barron, M.D., parted ways with the company in August to take up the CEO post at the cellular rejuvenation startup Altos Labs. With Barron gone but retaining a board seat, GSK’s R&D is being overseen by Pfizer veteran Tony Wood, Ph.D., who took up an SVP post at GSK in 2017.