A Look at the Most Powerful Woman in the FTSE

Fri, 23rd Sep 2016

Emma Walmsley has just been named as the new chief executive of GlaxoSmithKline. She will replace Sir Andrew Witty when he retires from the post in March 2017.

Walmsley is a mother of four, and she says that getting married and having her children was the best decision that she has ever made. She is the daughter of a sailor, and all four of her children are primary school aged. She has had a long corporate career. She joined GlaxoSmithKline after meeting a representative of the company over lunch when she was working for L’Oreal in Shanghai.

She currently leads the drug company’s consumer healthcare arm, and when she becomes chief executive she will be joining a small and select group of women leaders in the top flight. In fact, she will be the seventh woman to hold such a position in the FTSE. Other companies with female leaders include Whitbread, Royal Mail, easyJet and Kingfisher.

GlaxoSmithKline’s market value is currently £80 billion, bigger than any of the other female-led companies, making her arguably the most powerful female business leader in the index.

Walmsley has been with GlaxoSmithKine for six years, and has achieved a lot in her time with the consumer arm of the company. Glaxo chairman, Sir Philip Hampton, called Walmsley an outstanding leader, and said that she has a valuable track record of delivering growth. He believes that she can drive performance in the healthcare sector, and will bring a lot to the company.

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