GSK North American chief to defect to rival

GlaxoSmithKline has lost another director in the wake of the battle to succeed chief executive Jean-Pierre Garnier, who retired in May. Chris Viehbacher, head of GSK’s North American business is leaving and is expected to defect to a rival company yet to be revealed.

gsk.gifGlaxoSmithKline has lost another director in the wake of the battle to succeed chief executive Jean-Pierre Garnier, who retired in May. Chris Viehbacher, head of GSK’s North American business is leaving and is expected to defect to a rival company yet to be revealed.

Viehbacher is the second of two directors to depart from the pharmaceuticals giant following an internal struggle to replace Garnier. Pharmaceuticals head David Stout left the company in February.

Both Viehbacher and Stout were passed over in favour of Andrew Witty, who was president of GSK’s European business before his appointment as chief executive (MW.co.uk 8 October, 2007).

Viehbacher, who is a 20-year veteran at GSK, is to leave on December 1. It is not known where he is going but it is understood he will be joining a rival company, possibly in Europe.

As well as its pharmaceuticals division, GSK also owns consumer brands such as Lucozade, Ribena and Aquafresh.

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