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Drug firm GlaxoSmithKline has announced that Andrew Witty will replace current chief executive Jean-Paul Garnier when he retires in May.
Mr Witty, 43, who is currently the president of Glaxo’s European pharmaceuticals arm, joined Glaxo in 1985 and has held a number of senior roles within the group, including senior vice-president for the Asia-Pacific region.
Mr Garnier, 60, has been chief executive of the group since the January 2001 merger of SmithKline Beecham and Glaxo Wellcome.
The drugs giant reported annual profits of £7.8bn last year on total pharmaceutical sales of £20.1bn.
However, profits have recently been affected by the weaker US dollar and falling sales of its diabetes treatment Avandia® (rosiglitazone) after reports suggested it increased the risk of heart attacks in patients, a claim which the firm has strongly denied.
The company specialises in medicines in six major disease areas – asthma, virus control, infections, mental health, diabetes and digestive conditions. It is also a leader in vaccines and develops new treatments for cancer.
The company claims to spend more than £300,000 every hour on researching and developing new medicines and employs more than 100,000 people in 117 countries.
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