GSK share price: Drugmaker appoints new executives in China

on Apr 25, 2014
Updated: Apr 9, 2020
Listen, Friday, April 25: GlaxoSmithKline Plc (LON:GSK) has appointed two executives to new roles overseeing sales and marketing in China, Reuters has reported. The company is currently engulfed in a bribery probe in the country and has also recently admitted to investigating corruption allegations in several other countries.

GSK’s share price has added about 0.2 percent in London trading.
**GSK appoints new executives in China**
Reuters today quoted an unnamed source with direct knowledge of GSK’s decision as saying that the UK company had appointed two executives to new roles overseeing sales and marketing in China.
The source told Reuters that Thomas Willemsen, who managed GSK’s Taiwanese unit, was selected to lead commercial operations including sales, while Wang Yizhe, who was a senior director at GSK’s US oncology marketing unit before moving to the UK to lead a team working with emerging markets, would take charge of marketing.

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The source also explained that the move marked a significant change for the pharma company’s sales and marketing command chain creating a wider gap between the two functions.
GSK’s front-line sales and marketing staff were at the centre of last year’s bribery scandal when Chinese authorities accused the drugmaker of having funnelled up to 3 billion yuan (£287 million) to doctors and officials to encourage them to use its medicines.

GSK spokesman Simon Steel confirmed the new appointments to Reuters, noting that the company had “made consistently clear we are committed to China and to serving the needs of patients”.
“The new management team in the country are shaping our business to best meet that purpose,” Steel added.
The UK pharma group has admitted in the past couple of weeks that it is looking into bribery allegations in Iraq, Poland, Jordan and Lebanon, but has denied having “a systemic issue with unethical behaviour”. (GSK share price: Drugmaker investigates bribery claims in Jordan, Lebanon)

**Moody’s review**

In other GSK news, ratings agency Moody’s on Wednesday placed GSK’s A1 long-term ratings on review for downgrade following the drugmaker’s announcement that it had agreed a three-way multibillion dollar deal with Novartis (VTX:NOVN). The transaction, expected to complete in the first half of 2015, will see the two companies launch a consumer healthcare joint venture and exchange certain assets. (GSK share price jumps on multibillion dollar deal with Novartis)

Moody’s explained in a statement that Novartis’ right to sell its 36.5 percent share of the consumer healthcare business to GSK after three years could cost the UK company ‘in excess of £6 billion’. Moody’s noted that GSK’s decision to distribute £4 billion to shareholders could also affect its credit rating.
The agency however said that the transaction made “strategic sense” for GSK since it would boost the drugmaker’s over-the-counter (OTC) and vaccines business, making the company the second-largest player in the consumer health segment behind Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:J&J), and the world leader in OTC and vaccines.
**As of 14:10 BST, buy GSK shares at 1654.00p.**
**As of 14:10 BST, sell GSK shares at 1653.50p.**


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