GSK names Emma Walmsley as new chief executive

Health CareAssociated Press

Drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline says Emma Walmsley will be the company's new chief executive, replacing Andrew Witty when he retires next March.

Walmsley currently runs the company's consumer healthcare division, established as part of a deal in which GSK swapped its cancer-drug unit for Novartis's vaccine business.

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She joined GSK in 2010 from L'Oreal, where she held roles in the U.K., Europe and China.

Walmsley says Tuesday that GSK has momentum and "the opportunity and the potential to create meaningful benefits for patients, consumers and our shareholders."

GSK and other large pharmaceutical companies are regrouping amid competition from generic drugmakers, shedding units that aren't central to their businesses and focusing on their strengths.