GSK’s CEO Emma Walmsley prepares to fight for her position

On Wednesday, Walmsley will try to convince shareholders she’s the right person to lead the “New GSK”

While it is broadly acknowledged she had a momentous task ahead when she inherited the company back in 2017, shareholders seem to be growing impatient with the progress made four years into her tenure. This coming Wednesday, on what will undoubtedly be her toughest day at the helm, Walmsley and her team are expected to unveil detailed plans to split the business into what will be regarded as the “New GSK” - housing the company’s pharma + vaccines business and a separate the consumer health unit. It is reported she’ll also present a 10-year outlook to shareholders and analysts to help convince them she is the right person to steer the “New GSK” beyond the planned split.

Making her upcoming presentation even more colourful is the involvement of activist investor, Elliot Management run by Paul Singer, which will be watching the proceedings very closely following its acquisition of a significant stake in the company back in April. While she seems to have the support of GSK’s chairman, Sir Jonathan Symonds along with the majority of the company’s shareholders, analysist warn it would be ill-advised to ignore or downplay Elliot Management’s entry into the equation. With the company’s share price having declined by 14% since she took over, the hedge fund is said to be questioning whether she’s the right person going forward, especially since she is not a scientist herself.