GSK hires Maitland to rebuild investor trust

GlaxoSmithKline has hired City PR specialists The Maitland Consultancy as it faces widespread criticism over CEO Jean-Pierre Garnier’s controversial ‘golden parachute’ pay package.

Maitland will help the pharmaceutical giant rebuild relations with investors following a humiliating shareholder vote against Garnier’s proposed pay deal.

GSK this week became the first British blue-chip company in history to have its pay scheme rejected by shareholders when 51 per cent voted against approving the group’s remuneration report at its AGM.

Pensions Investment and Research Consultancy estimated Garnier’s proposed package would have meant a £22m pay out from GSK in the event of him losing his job. But GSK disputes the figure, claiming that the amount includes £7.3m of already invested share options.

GSK is now conducting a full review of remuneration policy, with Deloitte & Touche hired to produce an independent report. The results of the review are expected in 2004.

GSK president of corporate media in the UK Martin Sutton said: ‘Our main priority is to deal with the fallout from the vote and to plan the way forward in terms of dealing with remuneration issues, but also to persuade people to focus on what is a successful business.’

GSK senior vice-president of corporate communications Jennie Younger confirmed that Maitland had been hired without a competitive pitch and following a review of the firm’s corporate and financial PR needs.

Maitland, which replaces long-term incumbent Financial Dynamics, will also provide high-end strategic advice to the board and the in-house PR team, with agency founder Angus Maitland working with partner Lydia Pretzlik.

Maitland added: ‘Our job is to make sure people understand the processes that GSK is putting in place.’

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