EMMA WALMSLEY Kevin Dietsch Pool ABACA Reuters

Kevin Dietsch/Pool/ABACA/Reuters

Emma Walmsley

CEO, GlaxoSmithKline

A former L’Oreal marketing manager, Emma Walmsley became CEO of GlaxoSmithKline in 2017 and has seen the company grow significantly. The coronavirus affected business in the second quarter of this year, but in announcing half-year results Walmsley says: “GSK has been resilient and agile in its response to the pandemic, and we're successfully navigating the crisis and meaningfully contributing to solutions, while at the same time making sure we're delivering our long-term priorities of innovation, performance, and trust, and on our 2020 areas of focus.”

Growth under Walmsley has included buying out Novartis from a consumer-focused joint venture, and spinning out GSK’s consumer health division from the company. She reinvested significant financial and time capital into GSK’s research and development capability — foresight now being richly rewarded, as it has a number of new medicines and vaccines in development, including a coronavirus vaccine in collaboration with CEPI, the Coalition for Epidemic Preparedness Innovations.

Walmsley says on the company’s half-year earnings call that the company was very confident in being able to supply — subject to positive results — 1 billion doses of a COVID-vaccine adjuvant, which would reduce the amount of vaccine needed to inoculate people.