After CEO move, GSK picks ex-Novartis exec to head consumer unit

September 29, 2016 8:25 AM EDT

A GlaxoSmithKline logo is seen outside one of its buildings in west London, February 6, 2008. REUTERS/Toby Melville/File Photo

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LONDON (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) has promoted a former Novartis (NASDAQ: NOVN) executive to lead its consumer healthcare business, following the appointment last week of the unit's previous head, Emma Walmsley, as CEO designate of the drugmaker.

The British group said on Thursday that Brian McNamara, 50, who currently heads up Europe and the Americas at GSK Consumer Healthcare, would take on his new role immediately and join GSK's corporate executive team.

McNamara worked for 11 years at Novartis, where he was also in charge of consumer health, and joined GSK following the creation of a joint venture between the two companies in 2015. Prior to that he spent 16 years at Procter & Gamble (NYSE: PG).

The swift management transition will ensure the consumer business remains focused on improving financial performance and will allow Walmsley to focus on her new role as incoming CEO, a spokesman said.

She will officially take the helm at the end of March on the retirement of current CEO Andrew Witty, becoming the first woman to lead a top global drugmaker.

Separately, GSK said it had disposed of the final portion of its stake in Aspen Pharmacare , Africa’s biggest generic drugmaker, after seven years as an investor in the company. Its gross proceeds from the sale of the remaining 6.2 percent holding were 477 million pounds ($621 million).

(Reporting by Ben Hirschler; Editing by Adrian Croft)

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