Headlining exciting innovation in the pharmaceutical world, Dame Emma Walmsley has been the CEO of GSK since 2017, making her the first woman to run a major pharmaceutical company. Due to her overwhelming insight and experience, in 2020, she was appointed Dame Commander of the British Empire for services to the pharmaceutical industry and business.
Walmsley has an MA from Oxford University and holds more than two decades worth of experience in management roles. Prior to joining GSK’s leadership team in 2010, she worked with L’Oreal for 17 years in global and local marketing, as well as holding management roles in London, Paris, New York and Shanghai. This broad global insight into her industry enables her to lead a company like GSK through mass change and innovation in a world now all-to-familiar with a pandemic.
“It is an exciting time for the industry”
A Financial Times profile of Walmsley in September 2016 reported that colleagues described her as a "strong and dynamic" leader who mixes a personable style with a "steely" focus. Her work at GSK has demonstrated just that, as it is a company that continues going from strength to strength. The company’s mass development in vaccines, including RSV and Meningitis, shows its ability to embark upon what is necessary to the current global climate. In an interview with CNBC, Walmsley stated how it is “an exciting time for the industry and certainly [GSK has] been through quite a radical transformation as a company over the last five years.”
Recent findings of GSK include them being the first to publish results on RSV, after those within the pharmaceutical industry have been searching for a solution for 50 years. In addition, the work undertaken towards a prevention injection for HIV is pioneering and will benefit so many people worldwide. Walmsley stresses the importance of targeting diseases head-on to CNBC, stating that “we need to make sure that we communicate very clearly on the benefits that can come from… stopping these diseases before they start.”
“I think we have an absolutely fundamental responsibility and not just within the industry… to really make sure that we respond at pace, and [are] extremely engaged quite formally on next pandemic preparedness, not only in terms of innovation coming through, but the equity of the distribution of that innovation works well.”