Gent to receive £500,000 salary as GSK chairman

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The Independent Online

Sir Christopher Gent, the former chief executive of Vodafone, was confirmed yesterday as the next chairman of GlaxoSmithKline, the UK's biggest drug maker, with an annual salary of £500,000.

Sir Christopher Gent, the former chief executive of Vodafone, was confirmed yesterday as the next chairman of GlaxoSmithKline, the UK's biggest drug maker, with an annual salary of £500,000.

He joins the board next week as deputy to Sir Christopher Hogg, who will retire at the end of the year after steering the company to a new accord with its leading shareholders over corporate governance.

GSK said it had selected Sir Christopher on the basis of his track record at the helm of a company with a similar global scale to GSK. He retired as chief executive of Vodafone in July last year; GSK will be his first chairmanship and first experience of the pharmaceuticals industry.

It is understood GSK canvassed its leading shareholders on Sir Christopher's appointment and remuneration. His £500,000 salary as chairman will include £100,000 in GSK shares. He will be paid the equivalent of £300,000 during his time as deputy.

Shareholders said that Sir Christopher's main task will be to advise on the politics of operating in global markets and to plan for the succession to Jean-Pierre Garnier, GSK's powerful chief executive. One investor said: "There are also still fences to be mended with shareholders over remuneration, and while Sir Christopher had run-ins over pay, he did reflect last year that things could have been done differently at Vodafone."

The non-executives at GSK came in for severe criticism as the company first tried to double Dr Garnier's pay and then suffered the humiliation of an unprecedented defeat for its pay policies last year. Sir Christopher's appointment yesterday - and that of Sir Deryck Maughan, the investment banker, as a non-executive - was billed by the company as the latest stage in a strengthening of the board, which has seen the departure of several long-standing non-executives.

Sir Deryck is the chairman and chief executive of Citigroup International, the global investment banking arm of Citicorp.

Sir Christopher Hogg said: "Sir Christopher brings with him many years of experience and a track record of delivering outstanding performance in a highly competitive global industry, which will be invaluable to GSK. Sir Deryck brings with him a wealth of international corporate and investment banking experience."

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