Longtime CEO of drug maker GSK to step down next year

AP News
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Posted: Mar 17, 2016 10:28 AM

LONDON (AP) — The head of pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline, Andrew Witty, has announced he will leave after eight years as CEO.

The search for a successor comes amid months of pressure from some investors, who had wanted the diverse company to be broken up.

The company, known as GSK, said in a statement Thursday that Witty, who first joined the company in 1985, believes "this will be the right time for a new leader to take over." The move is effective in March 2017.

Like many big pharmaceutical companies, GSK has struggled to see off the challenge of generic drugmakers and come up with new blockbuster drugs to replace medicines with expiring patents.

It has also faced other challenges. Britain's competition authority has fined GSK 37.6 million pounds ($54.5 million) for stalling the potential entry of generic competitors of anti-depressant drug Seroxat into the marketplace.