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GSK hire Jonathan Symonds as new Chairman

Published on: 24/07/19

Business chief Jonathan Symonds has joined British multinational GlaxoSmithKline as the company’s new non-executive chairman.

The hire ends GSK’s six month search, as it prepares to fold its consumer business into a joint venture with Pfizer. In his new role Symonds will oversee the changes being implemented by CEO Emma Walmsley who joined GSK in 2017. Walmsley hopes to revitalise GSK’s R&D efforts with the help of Chief Scientific Officer Hal Barron.

Symonds, who will join GSK from his current position as Deputy Group Chairman at HSBC, previously held C-suite level roles at rivals AstraZeneca and Novartis where he was Chief Financial Officer (CFO). He has also been a non-executive director at drinks firm Diageo and defence technology company QinetiQ.

Symonds will replace current chairman Sir Philip Hampton, who has been in the role since 2015. Prior to joining GSK Hampton had acted as chairman of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) and Sainsbury’s PLC.

Symonds will receive an annual pay packet worth £700,000 which includes a £525,000 salary and £175,000 in GSK shares. The sum is equal to the amount Hampton received in 2018. However Hampton chose to take 25% of his pay in shares.

Vindi Banga, a Senior Independent Director at GSK commented: “Jon has exceptional experience in life sciences, and in the financial management and governance of major, global companies. Throughout his career he has demonstrated a passion for science, and is known for his integrity and professionalism. We are delighted that Jon will lead the Board through this next phase for GSK, and we look forward to him joining in September.”

Commenting on his own appointment, Symonds said: “I am delighted to be joining GSK, at what is a really important time for the company as it seeks to create value from its new R&D approach, and to create two, new world-leading companies, one focussed on Pharmaceuticals and Vaccines, the other on Consumer Healthcare.”  

Business chief Jonathan Symonds has joined British multinational GlaxoSmithKline as the company’s new non-executive chairman.

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