Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline revamps comms in bid to be 'open'

Pharmaceutical giant reshuffles senior comms team and promotes vice-president.

Comms reshuffle: GlaxoSmithKline
Comms reshuffle: GlaxoSmithKline

Pharma-to-FMCG firm GlaxoSmithKline has restructured its global communications function as part of a drive to be more transparent and open with the public.

The reshuffle sees longstanding GSK communicator Phil Thomson take on the role of senior vice-president, global communications. He moves into the new post in August, after 14 years at the company.

In the new role, he reports to Witty and assumes responsibility for media relations, investor relations, corporate responsibility, global community partnerships, internal communications and product communications.

Virgo Health co-founder Angie Wiles said: 'Phil is cutting-edge and well-informed and is not afraid of change. Witty is a big supporter of comms and will work well with Phil.'

'Phil's appointment reflects GSK's ongoing drive to be more transparent in our actions and communicate more openly with our stakeholders,' said CEO Andrew Witty.

Thomson succeeds Duncan Learmouth, who has been appointed to lead a newly created 'developing countries and market access' unit.

GSK's desire to be seen as more transparent began with Witty's appointment in May 2008 and has seen the CEO take part in several high-profile interviews with national newspapers (see box).

In GSK's 2009 Corporate Responsibility Report, released earlier this year, he pledged a commitment to being more open and transparent about how the firm does business, including publishing the results of all clinical studies and more information on payments to healthcare professionals.

Thomson is currently vice-president, global media, and is responsible for overseeing the firm's engagement with the media.

GSK is currently searching for Thomson's replacement.


26 April 2010: Witty takes questions from BBC's World Have Your Say listeners

12 August 2009: Witty interview with the Guardian appears - 'Andrew Witty: drug firm boss out to change his industry'

27 July 2008: Profile interview with Witty runs in The Sunday Times - 'New boss Andrew Witty revamps GlaxoSmithKline'

21 July 2008: Witty speaks to The Daily Telegraph - 'A Witty cure for a sick patient'.

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