Glaxo CEO Witty Joins Golfers Clarke, McIlroy in U.K. Honors

GlaxoSmithKline CEO Andrew Witty
Andrew Witty, chief executive officer of GlaxoSmithKline Plc., received a knighthood in Queen Elizabeth's New Year's Honors List. Photographer: Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg

GlaxoSmithKline Plc Chief Executive Officer Andrew Witty and former Tesco Plc Chairman David Reid were given knighthoods in a U.K. honors list that also includes golfers Darren Clarke and Rory McIlroy.

Actress Helena Bonham Carter, comedian Ronnie Corbett and writer Clive James were also among the 984 people granted civic honors in today’s biannual awards, the Cabinet Office in London said. They include community and charity workers nominated by the public as well as business leaders, public servants and stars of sport and entertainment.

Witty, 47, took over as head of Glaxo in 2008 after more than 20 years at the London-based company. Glaxo is developing the world’s first vaccine against malaria, which has the potential to prevent the deaths of 800,000 children a year.

Reid, 64, spent 26 years on the board of the U.K.’s largest supermarket chain, including eight years as chairman, overseeing expansion into the U.S. and China. He stepped down in November and will take over as chairman of Intertek Group Plc, the world’s largest consumer-goods testing company in 2012.

As knights, Witty and Reid will be able to put “Sir” in front of their names. They will receive medals from Queen Elizabeth II at a ceremony at which she touches them on both shoulders with a sword. Neither responded to requests for comment through their offices yesterday.

Sentance Honored

Andrew Sentance, who stepped down in May from the Bank of England’s Monetary Policy Committee after five years, was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire, entitling him to put the letters “CBE” after his name.

Business people made up 12 percent of the list. Paul Ruddock, CEO and co-founder of Lansdowne Partners Ltd., Europe’s largest equity hedge fund, was knighted for his charitable work. Jonathan Ive, Apple Inc.’s senior vice president of industrial design, received the distinction for services to design and enterprise.

Peter Bazalgette, the former chief creative officer of Endemol NV who’s credited with a string of British television hits including “Big Brother,” was also knighted, as was John Buchanan, chairman of Smith & Nephew Plc, Europe’s biggest maker of artificial hips and knees.

Gerald Ronson, the CEO of property developer Heron International Ltd. who was imprisoned in 1990, was awarded a CBE for his philanthropic work. Ronson served six months of a one-year sentence for creating a false market in Guinness Plc shares during the 1986 battle between Guinness and Argyll Group Plc for Distillers Company Plc.

Self-Service Gas

Before that, he had helped introduce the self-service gas station to the U.K. According to Heron’s website, he has raised more than 100 million pounds ($150 million) for charity. His office said he was traveling and unavailable for comment yesterday.

There’s also a knighthood for London’s Lord Mayor, Michael Bear, for services to the city, regeneration and charity.

The honors are bestowed in the name of the queen and are recommended by an independent panel, which considers suggestions from government departments and political parties as well as from the public.

Helena Morrissey, CEO of Newton Investment Management Ltd, received a CBE for her work in pushing companies to put more women on boards.

The two Northern Irish golfers were both honored after a year that saw them take their first major titles. Clarke, named an Officer of the Order of the British Empire, captured the British Open at Royal St. Georges in Sandwich, southeast England, by three shots. It was his 20th appearance at golf’s oldest championship.

Record Setter

McIlroy, now a Member of the Order of the British Empire, won the U.S. Open in Bethesda, Maryland, by eight strokes. His score of 16-under-par was the lowest in the tournament’s 111-year history, one of 12 U.S. Open records he set.

Bonham Carter, whose voice was heard over Christmas on British television narrating the children’s book “The Gruffalo’s Child,” has been a fixture in the movie world since starring in the 1985 film “A Room With a View.” As well as appearing in a series of adaptations of classic English works, she has also featured in “Fight Club” and the 2001 remake of “Planet of the Apes.”

She received a CBE, as did Corbett, the surviving half of “the Two Ronnies,” a comedy show that ran on British TV from 1971 to 1987. Clive James, another CBE recipient, made his name as a TV critic before appearing on the medium in travel and entertainment shows.

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