* European executive Gisserot to head drugmaker's China unit
* Previous China head Reilly remains with GSK in senior role
* Travel restrictions on China finance head Nechelput lifted
By Ben Hirschler
LONDON, July 25 GlaxoSmithKline has
appointed one of its top European executives as the new head of
operations in China, amid a corruption scandal there that has
rocked Britain's biggest drugmaker.
Herve Gisserot, senior vice president for Europe, will take
over as general manager from Mark Reilly, who will remain with
the company as a senior member of the management team, a
spokesman said on Thursday.
Reilly, currently in Britain, will continue to help lead
GSK's response to the Chinese government's bribery investigation
- but the spokesman declined to say whether he would travel back
Reilly has been working at GSK's headquarters on the
outskirts of London since arriving from China in early July for
what people familiar with the situation said at the time were
"From what we understand and have been told by the
authorities there are no allegations of wrongdoing against Mark
(Reilly)," the spokesman said.
Gisserot will transition over the coming weeks into his new
role, where his prime focus will be to ensure that GSK's China
business continues to operate as smoothly as possible.
FINANCE HEAD FREE TO TRAVEL
At the same time, travel restrictions on GSK's finance head
for China, Steve Nechelput, which had prevented him from leaving
the country, are believed to have been lifted, the spokesman
Nechelput will continue in his role as finance director for
GSK China and will remain based there. News last week that
Nechelput had been stopped from leaving China sparked concern
about the scale of the probe facing GSK, although GSK said he
had not been questioned or detained by authorities.
Chinese police have detained four Chinese GSK executives in
connection with allegations that the drugmaker funnelled up to 3
billion yuan ($489 million) to travel agencies to facilitate
bribes to doctors and officials.
GSK has admitted that some Chinese executives appeared to
have broken the law but Chief Executive Andrew Witty said on
Wednesday that head office had had no knowledge of the alleged
Witty said the "deeply disappointing" episode appeared to
involve certain senior local staff working outside GSK systems.
He has commissioned law firm Ropes & Gray to carry out an
independent review into what happened.
In addition to running much of Europe for GSK, new China
head Gisserot has also acted as president of the French
pharmaceutical industry trade body LEEM, a position the group
said he would give up at the end of August.