GSK's new chief executive Emma Walmsley will be paid less than her male big pharma peers

Jasper Jolly
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Emma Walmsley will start as GSK chief executive after Andrew Witty retires

Emma Walmsley will join the short list of female FTSE 100 chief executives at the end of today as her predecessor Andrew Witty retires from pharma giant GSK.

For women at the very top it has been a long slog, and there’s still a way to go: Walmsley will be only the seventh woman currently leading one of the UK’s blue chip companies.

Read more: The UK's gender pay gap will close in 2041, says PwC

Yet it isn’t all rosy even for those who make it to the top. Data compiled by EPVantage shows she will be paid significantly less than her peers across the world in their first year as chief executive.


Walmsley has lower inflation-adjusted pay than her big pharma peers (Source: EPVantage data sourced from company filings)

Walmsley’s pay reportedly became an issue for major shareholders, who demanded she be paid less to lead the multinational drugs giant, according to Sky News.

Walmsley was promoted from within GSK’s own ranks from her post as head of the consumer healthcare division.

Read more: These are the top 30 men helping to tackle gender inequality at work

She joined the board at the start of the year, and is now the woman with control of the biggest British-listed company.

The gender pay gap will not close until 2041 in the UK, according to PwC. However, the gap at the very top could remain for longer, with fewer women given top executive roles.

The disparity in pay between men and women is highest in the financial services, where average pay is 34 per cent lower for women than for men.

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