Glaxo Names Goldman Banker Dingemans as Finance Chief as Witty Seeks Deals

GlaxoSmithKline Plc named Simon Dingemans, a Goldman Sachs Group Inc. investment banker, as chief financial officer at a time when the U.K. drugmaker is counting on acquisitions to help boost sales.

Dingemans, 47, leads Goldman’s European mergers business and has more than 25 years of investment banking experience, London-based Glaxo said in a statement today. He will become CFO-designate Jan. 4 and replace Julian Heslop, 57, as chief financial officer when he retires at the end of March, the company said.

“Simon’s appointment as CFO reflects the need for GSK to operate with both creativity and continued financial discipline,” Glaxo Chief Executive Officer Andrew Witty said in the statement. “Simon will bring valuable experience and capability to support us in our strategy to grow and diversify GSK’s business through organic means and bolt-on acquisitions.”

Glaxo has done 24 acquisitions and joint ventures since Witty became CEO in May 2008 in an effort to replace revenue that will be lost to rival generic treatments, according to Bloomberg data. The biggest was the $2.9 billion purchase of Stiefel Laboratories Inc., a closely held U.S. drugmaker, in July 2009. Glaxo is expanding in emerging markets and consumer products.

Vodafone Deal

Dingemans was named a Goldman partner in 2000, the same year in which he advised Vodafone Plc on its $175 billion hostile takeover of Mannesmann AG in 2000. Christopher Gent, who was CEO of Vodafone at the time, is Glaxo’s chairman. Dingemans last year helped Glaxo create ViiV Healthcare, a venture with Pfizer Inc. to develop drugs for HIV. New York-based Goldman doesn’t immediately plan to replace Dingemans in his current role, a spokeswoman in London said.

“Witty has said he doesn’t believe in megamergers and I don’t think a new CFO who just happens to have been a banker is going to change this at all,” said Dominic Valder, an analyst at Evolution Securities Ltd. in London, in a telephone interview.

“Joining a global company as CFO is something I have been keen to do as a next career step for some time,” Dingemans said in a separate e-mailed statement today. “GSK is a company that I have worked closely with for many years.”

Dingemans also will be responsible for delivering cost savings from Glaxo’s global restructuring program and further simplifying the company’s operations, Witty said.

M&A Strategy

“We do not see this appointment as presaging a change in M&A strategy nor the generally tough financial approach that has underpinned the deals GSK has done and those in which we assume it has chosen not to participate,” Kevin Wilson, an analyst at Citigroup Global Markets in London, wrote in a note to clients.

Dingemans is at least the third Goldman banker to become an executive of a European company in the past year. Jonathan Symonds, a managing director in London, joined Novartis AG of Basel, Switzerland, in September 2009 and now is CFO. John Lindfors, who previously headed European technology investment banking for Goldman, in June become a partner at Digital Sky Technologies, the Russian investment company that owns stakes in Facebook Inc., Groupon Inc. and Zynga Game Network Inc.

Heslop joined Glaxo’s predecessor company in 1998 and became CFO in 2005. “His integrity, diligence, and outstanding technical ability have ensured that GSK has remained financially strong during a period of significant economic turmoil,” Witty said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Albertina Torsoli in Paris at atorsoli@bloomberg.net

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