Glaxo’s Vaccines Chairman Moncef Slaoui to Retire Next Year

  • Slaoui to leave board in March, remain as adviser until July
  • Debruyne to continue to run Glaxo’s vaccine business

GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s vaccines division chief, Moncef Slaoui, will retire next year after a nearly 30-year career at the U.K.’s biggest drugmaker.

Slaoui will remain a member of the board until March 31, and leave the company on June 30, 2017, the London-based company said in a statement on Tuesday. Slaoui joined Glaxo in 1988 and became a director in 2006.

His proposed departure comes amid a number of changes to Glaxo’s leadership, as Chief Executive Officer Andrew Witty plans to leave his post in March after nearly a decade at the helm. Chairman Philip Hampton is spearheading the search for a new CEO, and has revamped the board as well after four directors didn’t stand for re-election this year.

Slaoui, who oversaw the acquisition of Novartis AG’s vaccine division in 2015 in a complex three-part transaction, had previously served as the chairman of the drugmaker’s R&D for eight years. Glaxo credits him with overhauling R&D and driving improvements in productivity, as well as shepherding its vaccines pipeline, which included Rotarix, used to prevent diarrhea in infants, and Cervarix, to protect against a viral infection that can lead to cervical cancer.

Shares of Glaxo fell 1 percent to 1,400.50 pence as of 1:53 p.m. in London trading. The stock has climbed 3 percent this year, compared with a 12 percent decline in the Bloomberg Europe Pharmaceutical Index.

Deal Benefits

The transaction with Novartis added Bexsero, a vaccine for meningitis, to Glaxo’s portfolio and boosted sales for the division to about 3.7 billion pounds ($5.2 billion) last year. Glaxo -- along with Pfizer Inc., Merck & Co. and Sanofi -- accounts for more than three-quarters of the global vaccines market by sales.

The British company’s 2 billion pounds of new product sales last year were largely driven by its meningitis shots, as well as new HIV and respiratory drugs.

Leadership of the vaccines division will transition to Luc Debruyne, who became president of Glaxo’s vaccines division in December 2013 and has run the business under Slaoui’s guidance since then.

Glaxo will file an application with regulators this year for Shingrix, a shingles vaccine that could generate 596 million pounds in revenue by 2020, according to analysts’ estimates. In the near term, the vaccines division faces the challenge of improving its supply capacity for Bexsero to keep up with demand.

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