GlaxoSmithKline announced on Sunday that it is in talks with HSBC’s deputy chairman, Jonathan Symonds, to lead the pharmaceuticals group as its new chairman. If appointed, Symonds would oversee GSK’s division into two companies. As per the reports, the UK drug maker would confirm the appointment in coming weeks, as it awaits the approval of banking regulators, given his role in HSBC.
A spokesman for GSK said: “GlaxoSmithKline plc announced in January 2019 that the board had started the process to find a successor to Sir Philip Hampton as non-executive chairman. An announcement of the appointment of a new chairman will be made in due course.”
Prior to HSBC, Symonds served as a former finance director at GSK’s rival drugmakers AstraZeneca and Novartis. He also holds the experience of working with US investment bank Goldman Sachs. He expertise lies in carrying out transformative deals. Symonds rich and extensive experience of the pharmaceutical industry clubbed with the good knowledge of capital market makes him the most sought after candidate for the role.
If taken on board, Symonds would succeed Sir Philip Hampton, ending the company’s seven-month search. Earlier this year, the company announced that Hampton would step down from the position, after serving the group for over three and a half years. Hampton announced his resignation about the same time as the company got split into two: a pharmaceuticals and vaccines specialist, and a consumer healthcare joint venture with Pfizer. The one with Pfizer is backed by multiple brands including Centrum, Panadol and Sensodyne.
Symonds‘s appointment would help company win investor’s trust as earlier concerns were raised that neither Emma Walmsley, the company’s CEO nor Sir Philip, the outgoing chairman holds a pharma background.