Business

Glaxo investors tell that the days of the chief boss are numbered

The lead investor at GlaxoSmithKline suggests that chief executive days after the siege of the company’s activist investor Elliott are numbered.

A major investor in GlaxoSmithKline has suggested that its chief executive’s days are numbered after activist investor Elliott Management was a pharmaceutical giant.

A top-20 shareholder, who did not want to be named, said that Emma Walmsley might be forced to do so earlier than she did as Eliot tried to raise the share price of the company’s flag.

Title for Exit ?: Emma Walmsley may already be forced as she must have planned

Earlier this week it was revealed that Elliott, led by veteran investor Paul Singer, had taken a ‘multibillion pound’ stake in GSK, although the US activist has not yet revealed the exact size.

Predatory moves in the GSK boardroom have raised concerns.

Elliott is infamous in the city for starting a shake-up in companies.

GSK is already in the midst of splitting its consumer and pharma divisions into two separate companies through a project.

But Walmsley, which has a background in consumer goods from companies such as L’Oreal, left some shareholders behind, indicating its plans to lead the more prestigious pharma division after the split. The shareholder said by mail: ‘We would argue that a pharma company should have a chief executive with direct market knowledge.’

He said that ‘natural changes that could happen in a year or two anyway’ – as the new independent pharma company looked for a new owner to pursue it – ‘could be forced a little earlier.’ GSK declined to comment.

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