Emma Walmsley becomes first female CEO to head global pharma firm, GlaxoSmithKline. Walmsley had always been a strong internal candidate for the company as earlier she was commendably heading consumer healthcare department. She will join the board from January; replacing Andrew Witty.
After this appointment, she will enter the list of most powerful woman in London Stock Exchange's FTSE 100 and will become the seventh female CEO among companies on the stock index.
Walmsley, 47, joined UK's biggest drugmaker, GlaxoSmithKline in 2010 and managed its £6bn consumer healthcare business. Some of its products include Sensodyne toothpaste; Horlicks malted drinks and Panadol painkillers etc.
Prior to this, she was working with L’Oréal, the French cosmetics company, for 17 years and has worked in the UK, Europe, China and the US.
GlaxoSmithKline has a market value of £80bn, which is twice as big as the next largest female-led company, Imperial Brands, which is the tobacco company, worth £37billion.
Some of the challenges that Walmsley would be facing include increased competition from generic drugmakers, declining returns from research and development (R&D), and pricing concern by healthcare providers, particuarly in the US.