Glaxo chief: I will not forgo bonus over China bribery claims
Jim Armitage is the City editor of The Independent and London Evening Standard group of newspapers. He has been a reporter and editor for more than 20 years and was recently shortlisted for the Press Gazette financial journalist of the year and The Society of Editors financial journalist of the year awards. He contributes news, investigative reports and comment to the Independent titles plus a daily column in the Evening Standard.
Thursday 25 July 2013
GlaxoSmithKline's chief executive, Sir Andrew Witty, yesterday refused to sacrifice this year's bonus over allegations of bribery by the drugs giant's executives in China.
He described such a decision as "a matter for the board".
Sir Andrew accepted a cash and shares bonus worth £1.8m last year, taking his total pay to £4m despite the company paying out $3bn (£2bn) to settle claims that it bribed and tricked US doctors into prescribing antidepressants to children.
That fine was to settle a scandal that took place before his time in the chief executive's position, but the China affair, which also involves allegations that Glaxo employees bribed doctors, happened firmly on his watch.
However, Sir Andrew stressed that it was still early in the investigation, adding: "My bonus is a matter for the board to consider at the right time."
When it was pointed out that he could voluntarily forgo his bonus without the authority of the board, as several banking bosses have done during the financial crisis, he said: "I am disappointed about the allegations but we are at a very early stage of this investigation."
Meanwhile, it emerged that the company had contacted the Serious Fraud Office in the UK and the US Department of Justice over the China allegations. Both countries have strict rules on overseas corruption, such as those enshrined in Britain's Bribery Act.
Sir Andrew has said that if the allegations proved to be true, it would appear that a number of senior managers had been acting outside Glaxo's "processes", and talked of his disappointment at his staff's behaviour.
"The alleged activities are not what we expect from our people… We have zero tolerance in this area."
He added: "At this stage there is still a lot to find out, but we will learn from this and make changes."
Sir Andrew said the company remained committed to the Chinese market, where it had a "long history and large footprint". He singled out hepatitis B, respiratory illness and diabetes as diseases in the country where Glaxo had major drugs to offer.
Speaking publicly for the first time since the allegations emerged, he said Glaxo had launched a review of its business practices and did expect the scandal to have a financial impact.
He added: "I remain strongly of the view that 99.99 per cent of the people in this organisation are absolutely operating in the appropriate way."
- 1 East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
- 3 Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
- 4 Woman filmed launching racist tirade against men on the Tube for speaking in 'own lingo'
- 5 The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
East 17 bandmember Brian Harvey in 'very desperate situation’
Vladimir Putin says Russia will fight for the right of Palestinians to their own state
Ohio Democrat Teresa Fedor speaks out during abortion debate to reveal she has been raped – and is interrupted by laughter from Republicans
Children take eight Isis captives to be beheaded in latest propaganda video
Jeremy Clarkson 'could be given minder' ahead of a potential Top Gear return
Ukip supporters are 55 or older, white and socially conservative, finds British Social Attitudes Report
JK Rowling responds to fan tweeting she 'can't see' Dumbledore being gay
Jeremy Clarkson sacked live: Alan Yentob 'wouldn't rule out' ex Top Gear host's BBC return
David Cameron calls Labour 'hopeless, sneering socialists' while announcing 7-day NHS plans
The West has it totally wrong on Lee Kuan Yew
Revealed: Putin's army of pro-Kremlin bloggers
iJobs Money & Business
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: To provide a prompt, friendly and efficient se...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: You will be the first point of contact for all...
£18000 - £24000 per annum + benefits: Ashdown Group: HR, Payroll & Benefits Of...
£35000 - £38000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, int...