March 22, 2010 / 4:30 PM / 9 years ago

Glaxo nabs L'Oreal exec to head consumer health

LONDON, March 22 (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline (GSK.L) has poached a top executive from French cosmetics group L’Oreal (OREP.PA) as president-designate of its consumer healthcare unit, underscoring the drugmaker’s diversification drive.

The British-based group said on Monday that Emma Walmsley, leader of L’Oreal’s consumer products business in China, would run consumer healthcare in Europe from May 1 and take over from John Clarke as worldwide consumer head within two years.

Glaxo has come under pressure in the past to spin off consumer health, but under new chief executive Andrew Witty the division has become a key pillar of the drugmaker’s drive to reduce reliance on traditional prescription pharmaceuticals.

Glaxo’s consumer business includes over-the-counter medicines, toothpaste and nutritional drinks such as Lucozade. (Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Dan Lalor)

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