France’s Essilor Said to Hire Glaxo’s Halper as Head of M&A

  • Hilary Halper will report to Essilor CFO Geraldine Picaud
  • Halper plans to start at opthamology firm in coming weeks

Essilor International SA, a French ophthalmology company, hired Hilary Halper from GlaxoSmithKline Plc to be its head of mergers and acquisitions, according to people familiar with the matter.

Halper, who has been working as a director in Glaxo’s corporate development department in London, will join Essilor in the coming weeks, the people said, asking not to be identified because the details are private. She will report to Essilor Chief Financial Officer Geraldine Picaud, the people said.

At Glaxo, Halper worked as part of a team managing the company’s equity portfolio as well as on acquisitions and divestments, according to her LinkedIn profile. She also worked at banks including Wells Fargo & Co., Deutsche Bank AG and consultancy firm EY.

Representatives for Glaxo and Essilor declined to comment.

Glaxo fell 0.2 percent to 1,630 pence at 1:50 p.m. in London trading, while Essilor declined 0.3 percent to 116.10 euros in Paris.

On Sept. 20, Glaxo named Emma Walmsley to succeed Andrew Witty as chief executive officer when he retires, singling out the U.K.’s largest drugmaker as the only major global pharmaceutical company led by a woman.

Essilor has been actively using M&A as a way to boost growth. In August, it acquired U.K.-based MyOptique Group Ltd., which supplies prescription glasses, contact lenses and sunglasses. In February, it bought online contact lens retailer Vision Direct.

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