Abbas Hussain calls time on Glaxo after missing out on the top job

Steven Scott
Abbas Hussain, deep in conversation
Abbas Hussain has called time at GSK (Source: Getty)

Abbas Hussain, the brother of former England cricket captain Nasser Hussain, has pulled up stumps at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) after missing out on the top job at the drug company.

Hussain will leave his role as GSK's global head of pharmaceuticals later this year. He had been touted to replace Andrew Witty, who will retire as chief executive in March.

However, the top role went to GSK's consumer health boss Emma Walmsley, who was last year announced as the chief executive designate at Britain's biggest drugmaker.

GSK has poached AstraZeneca's European executive vice president Luke Miels to replace Hussain.

The executive changes come as the drugmaker looks to develop new medicines to make up for decline in sales of its lung treatment Advair.

“We are now entering a critical period of commercialisation for our new pharmaceutical products and, over the next two to three years, we have important data to come on our early-stage pipeline,” Walmsley said.

“Luke will bring a strong new voice to the decisions and choices we will have to make for our pharmaceuticals business.”

Miels will be in charge of a portfolio of prescription drugs with annual sales of more than £15bn.

His departure from AstraZeneca comes after a series of high-profile scientists resigned from the company in the past 18 months.

Witty thanked Hussain, who was in charge of rolling out GSK's new global commercial operating model and implementing a flexible pricing policy for developing countries.

“In his time at GSK Abbas has proven himself to be one of the most talented and authentic leaders in the healthcare industry,” Witty said.

“Succession processes are challenging for everyone involved and, unfortunately, it is rare that all of those involved stay with the company.”

GSK's manufacturing head Roger Connor and finance director Simon Dingemans had also been touted as possible candidates for the chief executive role.

But Mr Witty told Reuters he did not expect any other significant management departures from the company.

Read more: GSK’s vaccines chief will leave shortly after Witty

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