RBS boss Hampton in running for GSK chair

  • @lucytobin

Britain's biggest drug maker, GlaxoSmithKline, is set to appoint Royal Bank of Scotland's Sir Philip Hampton as its new chairman.

GSK's current chair, former Vodafone boss Sir Christopher Gent, is expected to stand down next year after nine years in the role, and veteran chairman Sir Philip is the name in the frame to replace him.

Sir Philip has been at RBS for almost five years, most recently installing incoming chief executive Ross McEwan as Stephen Hester's successor. A source at RBS said Sir Philip, who has also chaired supermarket J Sainsbury, would be unlikely to leave imminently but admitted a potential departure announcement could happen at next spring at RBS's AGM.

GlaxoSmithKline, which began the hunt for a successor to Sir Christopher last October, is currently facing a tumultuous time at the centre of allegations of a 3bn yuan (£312m) bribery scandal in China, and a new chair of its board could help chief executive Sir Andrew Witty steer through the crisis.

Sir Philip was part of a business delegation which travelled with David Cameron to China in 2010. He also has extensive experience with fire-fighting, having guided RBS through scandals including the bank's £390m settlement for Libor rate fixing and a further £1.1bn loss from mis-selling.