GSK (GlaxoSmithKline plc) named luxury fashion brand Burberry’s Julie Brown as its first-ever female chief financial officer on Monday to succeed Iain Mackay, at a time when the British drugmaker is sharpening its focus on its core business.
Mackay, 60, will be retiring next year after serving as GSK’s finance chief for nearly four years. The change comes after GSK spun off its large consumer business, Haleon, to focus on prescription drugs and vaccines.
Brown, also 60, will join GSK in April and take up the job in May. She has previously done stints in the health and pharmaceuticals industry.
She joined Burberry in 2017 from medical products maker Smith & Nephew and was a board member at Swiss drugmaker Roche until September 26 when she stepped down. She also served in several finance roles at AstraZeneca.
GSK’s shares were up about 2% in early trading on Monday.
With Emma Walmsley as GSK’s chief executive officer, Brown’s appointment also creates a rare, all-female top management at a blue-chip British company and a global pharma major.
Brown will receive an annual base salary of about 900 000 pounds at GSK, the company said.
“Julie is a highly experienced CFO with a tremendous understanding of the biopharma sector. We also share a strong passion for people development, diversity, inclusion and sustainability,” CEO Walmsley said in a statement.
GSK has struck several multi-billion dollar deals recently under Mackay, as the company faces calls to shore up its drug pipeline after years of underperformance relative to its peers.
In July, GSK delivered a strong second-quarter performance, boosting its full-year forecast.
Sky News first reported Brown’s appointment on Saturday.
Burberry had said on Friday that Brown would step down as its CFO and chief operating officer in April to take up a role outside the luxury industry.