GlaxoSmithKline

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is a pharmaceutical and healthcare company, one of the largest in the world. In 2002 the company had sales of 31.8 billion and made a profit of 6.5 billion. It employs around 100,000 people worldwide, including over 40,000 in sales and marketing.

The company is listed on the London and New York Stock Exchanges. Headquartered in Brentford it does the majority of its business in the US but has a presence in almost 70 countries. The company's CEO is Jean-Pierre Garnier (former COO SmithKline Beecham) and the non-executive chairman is Sir Richard Sykes (former chairman of Glaxo Wellcome) and current rector of Imperial College.

GSK was formed in December 2000 by a merger between Glaxo Wellcome and SmithKline Beecham, both the product of mergers themselves, as recently as 1995 for Glaxo and Wellcome. GSK was actually incorporated in Decmber 1999 as part of the lengthy merger process. As a result of the mergers the company has certain minor businesses which are not strictly within its larger interests.

In 2002 pharmaceutical sales accounted for 18 billion of GSK's total sales. Sales are largely based around a small number of successful products, the SSRI Paxil accounted for 2055 million in sales alone. Other key products are Seretide (bronchodilator, 1631 million), Augmentin (antibiotic, 1191 million), Wellbutrin (anti-depressant, 882 million) and Avandia (PPAR-gamma agonist, 809 million). The company works hard to protect the patents that cover its drug formulations and the trademarks that cover their names. It recently went to court to enforce patents on Augmentin (2002) and Paxil (2003) but lost both cases; several of its other patents are (as of 2003) being challenged.

At the GSK AGM on 19 May 2003, shareholders rejected a motion regarding a 22 million pay and benefits package for the CEO, Jean-Pierre Garnier. This is the first time such a rebellion by shareholders against a major British company has occurred, but is regarded as a possible turning point against other so-called "fat cat" deals within executive pay structures.

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