Major investor in Glaxosmithkline suggests chief executive’s days are numbered after company comes under siege from activist investor Elliott
A major investor in Glaxosmithkline has suggested its chief executive’s days are numbered after the pharmaceuticals giant came under siege from activist investor Elliott Management.
One top-20 shareholder, who did not wish to be named, said Emma Walmsley may be forced out earlier than she might have planned as Elliott tries to boost the company’s flagging share price.
Heading for the exit?: Emma Walmsley may be forced out earlier than she might have planned
It emerged earlier this week that Elliott, led by veteran investor Paul Singer, had taken a ‘multibillion pound’ stake in GSK, though the US activist has not yet revealed the exact size.
The predatory move has sparked worry in the GSK boardroom.
Elliott is infamous in the City for initiating shake-ups at companies.
GSK is already midway through a project to split its consumer and pharma divisions into two separate companies.
But Walmsley, whose background is in consumer goods at firms such as L’Oreal, has riled some shareholders by indicating her plans to lead the more prestigious pharma division after the split. The shareholder told the Mail: ‘We would argue a pharma company should have a chief executive with direct market knowledge.’
They added that the ‘natural change that might have happened anyway in a year or two’ – as the newly independent pharma company looked for a fresh boss to take it forward – ‘might be forced through slightly earlier’. GSK declined to comment.