Drug money: Glaxosmithkline boss Emma Walmsley took home nearly £5m last year
Glaxosmithkline boss Emma Walmsley took home nearly £5million last year after nine months in the top job.
The 48-year-old – Britain’s most powerful businesswoman – was appointed chief executive of the pharmaceuticals giant in April, succeeding Sir Andrew Witty.
Walmsley is the first woman to take the reins at the company, with her base salary slightly lower than Witty’s at £1million.
With performance pay, however, she pocketed £4.9million overall.
A spokesman for the firm yesterday said this largely reflected her earlier performance as head of Glaxo’s consumer healthcare arm.
Walmsley could potentially earn a maximum of £8.7million a year under future pay awards as chief executive – but that would not happen until 2020 at the earliest.
In his last full year, Witty was paid £6.8million. He was able to earn a maximum of £11.6million.
Walmsley’s bumper pay package was revealed yesterday as she prepares for what has been described as a pivotal year at Glaxo.
The mother-of-four has launched a major overhaul to whip the company into shape, poaching star executives from rivals, culling managers and vowing to replenish Glaxo’s crucial pipeline of future medicines.
Her appointment was hailed as a watershed moment in the battle to shatter the glass ceiling.
The promotion came after a stellar performance while she headed the consumer healthcare arm, where she doubled annual sales of Sensodyne toothpaste to £1billion.
Before that Walmsley spent 17 years at French cosmetics giant L’Oreal where she held roles in Paris, London and New York, and was also put in charge of its China operations.
She was born into a naval family – her father was a vice-admiral – in Cumbria and grew up in Kent.
And after an education at £30,000-a-year St Swithun’s in Winchester, she read classics and modern languages at Oxford’s Christ Church.
She is married to entrepreneur David Owen and they live in a £3.7million house in South-west London and have three sons and a daughter.
Soon after her appointment, Walmsley told the Mail: ‘I don’t think of myself as a woman in business, I think of myself as a business person.
‘We all have a responsibility to be role models to inspire our daughters to stay ambitious, to aim high and to dream big.
‘I was lucky enough to be supported through four maternity leaves, which also made a big difference and has taught me to remember to support young talent.’
When deciding whether to take on the chief executive role, she said her husband reminded her ‘that every time I’d taken a new role, I had constantly told him it was too big for me and then managed fine’.
Friends previously said she juggled work and family – and practised yoga – thanks to ‘amazing stamina’ and being ‘supremely well-organised’.
Walmsley became the seventh woman to lead a FTSE 100 company last year, joining Alison Cooper at Imperial Brands, Moya Greene at Royal Mail, Carolyn McCall at ITV, Liv Garfield at Severn Trent, Veronique Laury at Kingfisher and Alison Brittain at Whitbread.