Witty prospers despite GSK's Chinese scandal

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The Independent Online

GlaxoSmithKline paid its chief executive, Sir Andrew Witty, £7.2m for 2013, a year when Britain's biggest drug maker was rocked by a bribery scandal in China.

In its annual report, GSK also admitted the allegations meant it had identified a string of corporate risks, including the possibility the "Chinese business is not supportable in light of the subsequent decline in trading and the potential impact on future business" and that "illegal acts similar to those alleged to have occurred in China have occurred elsewhere in the group."

Despite that, Sir Andrew, who has just finished a three-year spell in a key Whitehall role on the board of the Department for Business, pocketed a £1.9m bonus for 2013, on top of a £1.1m salary, £707,000 pension and a share allocation that took his package to £7.2m, almost double his 2012 deal of £4.4m.

GSK's Chinese sales plunged 61 per cent in the third quarter of last year, and declined 18 per cent in the final quarter, after its offices were raided by police amid allegations of a £321m bribery scheme that saw cash and "gifts", including prostitutes, offered to doctors and officials to boost sales.

The drug maker is still co-operating with Chinese authorities. The US Department of Justice, the US Securities and Exchange Commission and the UK Serious Fraud Office have all been informed of the investigation.

At the time, Sir Andrew said: "It appears that certain senior executives in the China business have acted outside our processes and controls to defraud the company and the Chinese health care system."