GSK to name RBS's Hampton as new chairman this week

Wed Sep 24, 2014 11:48am EDT
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By Ben Hirschler

LONDON (Reuters) - Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L: Quote) will this week name Philip Hampton, who currently chairs Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS.L: Quote), as its next chairman, a person close to the process said on Wednesday.

Hampton is expected to join the GSK board as a non-executive director late this year or early in 2015 and take over from current chairman Chris Gent around the middle of next year.

Reuters reported on Monday that Britain's biggest drugmaker was under pressure to make changes, including a possible early replacement of Gent, after it was hit by a record $489 million fine for bribery in China.

The one-time Vodafone (VOD.L: Quote) chief, who has chaired GSK for nine years, is due to retire by the end of 2015 and the company has been planning for his succession for the past two years.

A GSK spokesman declined to comment on Hampton's future role but said: "Succession planning for the chairman is well under way."

Naming a new chairman may be seen as a sign that change is coming at GSK to address shareholder concerns over both the China affair and the company's recent poor financial performance.

As the new chairman, a key long-term task for Hampton will be to find an eventual successor to Chief Executive Andrew Witty, who has been in the job since 2008.

Witty has been viewed as a star manager for much of his six-year tenure but he has been damaged by the China scandal, which forced GSK to make an abject apology to the Chinese people last week.   Continued...

Chairman of Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS) Philip Hampton speaks at the annual Confederation of British Industry (CBI) conference in central London, November 4, 2013. REUTERS/Olivia Harris