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Major investors lining up behind embattled GlaxoSmithKline chief

Major investors lining up behind embattled GlaxoSmithKline chief Emma Walmsley in her fight with activist investor Elliott Management

Royal London and Jupiter Asset Management previously backed Emma Walmsley

Major investors are lining up behind embattled GlaxoSmithKline chief Emma Walmsley in her fight with activist investor Elliott Management. 

Royal London, M&G and Jupiter Asset Management previously backed Walmsley. Then last night, another big fund manager threw its weight behind her. 

The investor said: ‘Emma has done a good job strategically in building the consumer business and should not be expected to work miracles in biopharma.

‘They’re expecting her to do a ten-year job in four years, when she’s had Brexit and a pandemic to deal with too.’ 

A source at Jupiter defended Walmsley, saying: ‘She’s come in and attracted new talent like [chief scientific officer] Hal Barron.’ 

US hedge fund Elliott last week published a 17-page letter which bemoaned years of share price underperformance and called for the pharma giant to hire non-executives with ‘deep pharma and consumer healthcare expertise’. 

GSK has committed to hiring new directors before a split of the group next year. It is understood that Elliott is pushing for this process to be speeded up, demanding new hirings in the next two months. 

Elliott has asked for a process to determine who should best run the group. GSK and Elliott have been holding private meetings to gauge the views of investors. 

The Mail on Sunday revealed in May that top shareholders BlackRock and Dodge & Cox had privately urged Glaxo not to allow Elliott to distract it from its existing strategy. 

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