Stocks & Shares Pharmaceuticals & Health

GSK share price: Pharmco set to pick former AstraZeneca exec as chair

GlaxoSmithKline (LON:GSK) is set to appoint a former chief financial officer of blue-chip rival AstraZeneca (LON:AZN) as chairman, Sky News has revealed. The move will come with the drugmaker preparing to break itself up.

GSK’s share price has been little changed in London this morning, having inched 0.06 percent higher to 1,624.80p as of 08:08 BST, marginally underperforming the broader UK market, with the benchmark FTSE 100 index currently standing 0.24 percent higher at 7,524.30 points. The group’s shares have added about three percent to their value over the past year, as compared with about a two-percent fall in the Footsie.

GSK to appoint new chairman

Sky News reported yesterday that GSK was  in advanced talks about appointing Jonathan Symonds as its next non-executive chairman. The move will come after earlier this year, Sir Philip Hampton unveiled plans to step down, with the move coming in the wake of the pharmco’s joint venture deal with Pfizer, laying the foundation of its split into two UK-based companies.

Sources told the newswire over the weekend that Symonds’ recruitment was likely to be announced in the coming weeks. A former Goldman Sachs and KPMG partner, he has served as chief financial officer of both AstraZeneca and Novartis, and is currently the deputy chairman of HSBC (LON:HSBA).

“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,” a GSK spokesman said yesterday, as quoted by Sky News, adding that “an announcement of a new chairman will be made in due course”.

Analysts on blue-chip pharmco

UBS reaffirmed the blue-chip pharmco as a ‘neutral’ last week, without specifying a target on the GSK share price. According to MarketBeat, the blue-chip group currently has a consensus ‘hold’ rating and an average valuation of 1,532.32p.

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