GSK appoint ex-L’Oreal exec to help grow consumer business

By Katie Bird

- Last updated on GMT

Pharmaceutical giant Glaxo Smith Kline (GSK) has appointed an ex L’Oreal executive as president of consumer health care as part of its push to drive this side of the business.

Emma Walmsley will take over as president of consumer healthcare Europe from May this year and is set to become president of the global consumer healthcare division within two years.

Walmsley was previously with L’Oreal as its head of consumer products in China, and has also worked in New York for the Maybelline brand.

The appointment is part of the company’s continued drive to push its brands in the consumer healthcare division, which include Aquafresh, Sensodyne and Macleans as well as over the counter medicines such as cold and flu treatment Beechams and drinks brand Lucozade.

Growth of diversified global business

CEO Andrew Witty, who was appointed almost two years ago, introduced a three pronged strategy to develop a diversified global business, explained a spokesperson for the company.

“Historically we are strong in white pill Western markets, ​[traditional pharmaceutical markets]and one of the areas we wanted to grow as part of the business diversification was the consumer healthcare side,”​ the spokesperson told

The sector makes up a small part of the overall business – total sales for GSK in 2009 came to £28,368m (€31,787m), £4.7 billion of which came from consumer health care – but according to the spokesperson it has a strong growth trajectory and some of the key brands are performing particularly well.

In 2009, consumer health care sales for GSK grew 7 per cent with international markets leading the way with 12 per cent sales growth. Within oral care, sales for one of the flagship brands Sensodyne grew 13 per cent to reach £457m.

One of the key aspects of the strategy to grow the consumer healthcare sector is to develop the presence of GSK’s brands in emerging markets, where significant growth opportunities can be found, the spokesperson explained.

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