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Andrew Witty

Sir Andrew Witty
Andrew Witty wearing a suit
Andrew Witty on 22 October 2015 at Chatham House
Andrew Philip Witty

(1964-08-22) 22 August 1964 (age 55)
ResidenceBuckinghamshire, England
Alma materUniversity of Nottingham
OccupationCEO, Optum
SalaryGB£6,700,000 (2015, total compensation)[1][2]
PredecessorJean-Pierre Garnier
SuccessorEmma Walmsley
Spouse(s)Caroline M. Witty (née Hall)
Children2 [3]

Sir Andrew Philip Witty (born 22 August 1964)[3] is a British business executive, who was the chief executive officer (CEO) of GlaxoSmithKline between 2008 and 2017. Witty was succeeded by Emma Walmsley on 1 April 2017.[1][4] He is Chancellor of the University of Nottingham.

Early life

Witty attended Malbank School (originally the "Nantwich and Acton Grammar School") in Nantwich, and then gained a bachelor's degree in economics from the University of Nottingham.[3][5]


Witty joined Glaxo UK in 1985 as a management trainee.[6] He held various positions in the UK, including Director of Pharmacy & Distribution in Glaxo Pharmaceuticals UK,[7] Director of Business Development of Biocompatibles Limited and International Product Manager of Glaxo Holdings PLC. He served as Managing Director of Glaxo South Africa and Area Director of South and East Africa.

He served as a vice president and general manager of marketing of Glaxo Wellcome Inc., a subsidiary of GlaxoSmithKline with responsibility for strategy development, marketing execution and new product positioning. He served as an economic adviser to the Governor of Guangzhou, China from 2000-02.[8]

He was appointed president, Pharmaceuticals Europe of GlaxoSmithKline plc in January 2003[8] and succeeded Jean-Pierre Garnier as CEO following his retirement in May 2008. He is paid an annual salary of GB£948,000 and receives bonuses and other compensation amounting to GB£2,180,000 for this role.[9][10]

In February 2009 he pledged to make a major change in the way GSK pharmaceuticals are priced, in an attempt to make vital drugs more affordable in countries with the lowest incomes. At the same time he announced that GSK would place certain patents in a pool so that they were freely available for others in the search for new drugs.[11]

On 2 July 2012, GSK pleaded guilty to criminal charges and agreed to a $3 billion settlement of the largest health-care fraud case in the U.S. and the largest payment by a drug company.[12] The settlement is related to the company's illegal promotion of prescription drugs, its failure to report safety data,[13] bribing doctors, and promoting medicines for uses for which they were not licensed. The drugs involved were Paxil, Wellbutrin, Advair, Lamictal, and Zofran for off-label, non-covered uses. Those and the drugs Imitrex, Lotronex, Flovent, and Valtrex were involved in the alleged bribery scheme.[14][15][16]

In October 2012 it was announced that he had been appointed the Chancellor of the University of Nottingham with effect from 1 January 2013, having maintained strong ties with the university since graduation.[17]

In July 2013, the People's Republic of China announced that they were investigating allegations of fraud perpetrated by GSK going back to 2007 and involving thousands of millions of renminbi.[18] Four GSK executives have already been arrested in China. It is alleged that the money was used, inter alia, to bribe around 25 travel agencies that organize conferences for doctors, in order to encourage the agencies to host GSK events. Witty later claimed that he knew nothing about the China fraud and tried to pass the blame onto subordinates.[19]

In November 2015 Witty's leadership of GSK was criticised by Neil Woodford, who said that "he’s not doing a very good job". Woodford called for GSK to be split into four companies.[20] In March 2016 Witty announced that he was to stand down as chief executive.[21] He has since become CEO of Optum, a healthcare business.[22]

Public bodies

Witty serves as a director of Singapore Economic Development Board, and on the Imperial College Commercialisation Advisory Board. He is a member of the INSEAD UK Council, Health Innovation Council in the UK and a director of the Office for Strategic Coordination of Health Research. He is also a member of the Economic Development Board audit committee as well as a board member of the Singapore Land Authority Board.[8]


Witty was knighted in the 2012 New Year Honours for services to the economy and the UK pharmaceutical industry.[23]

Personal life

Witty is a keen marathon runner, and ran the London Marathon in 2008.[24][25] He lives in Buckinghamshire with his wife, Caroline, and two children.[26]


  1. ^ a b Kollewe, Julia (17 March 2016). "GSK chief Andrew Witty to leave drugmaker". The Guardian. Retrieved 17 March 2016.
  2. ^ "Executive Profile: Andrew Philip Witty". Bloomberg. Retrieved 26 March 2015.
  3. ^ a b c Davidson, Andrew (26 July 2009). "The Andrew Davidson Interview: Andrew Witty". The Sunday Times. London. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  4. ^ "Emma Walmsley". GSK. Retrieved 3 April 2017.
  5. ^ Pagnamenta, Robin (12 January 2008). "Business big shot: Andrew Witty". The Times. London. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  6. ^ "Andrew Witty's journey from Graduate to GSK CEO". GlaxoSmithKline. 12 August 2008. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  7. ^ "Andrew Witty profile". GlaxoSmithKline. 15 January 2010. Archived from the original on 27 December 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  8. ^ a b c "GlaxoSmithKline appoints Andrew Witty CEO designate". GlaxoSmithKline. 8 October 2007. Archived from the original on 27 December 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  9. ^ "Andrew Witty Profile at". Forbes. 2009. Archived from the original on 27 November 2010. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  10. ^ "Andrew Witty: Executive Profile & Biography at BusinessWeek". BusinessWeek. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  11. ^ Boseley, Sarah (13 February 2009). "Drug giant GlaxoSmithKline pledges cheap medicine for world's poor". The Guardian. London. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  12. ^ "GlaxoSmithKline". BBC News. 4 July 2012.
  13. ^ "GlaxoSmithKline Agrees to Pay $3 Billion in U.S. Drug Settlement". Bloomberg. 2 July 2012.
  14. ^ Fred Mogul (2 July 2012). "NY to Get Millions in GlaxoSmithKlein Settlement". WNYC. Archived from the original on 19 April 2013. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  15. ^ "BBC News -GlaxoSmithKline to pay $3bn in US drug fraud scandal". BBC Online. 2 July 2012. Retrieved 2 July 2012.
  16. ^ Thomas, Katie; Schmidt, Michael S. (2 July 2012). "Glaxo Agrees to Pay $3 Billion in Fraud Settlement". The New York Times. Retrieved 3 July 2012.
  17. ^ University of Nottingham appoints new Chancellor - The University of Nottingham
  18. ^ Ahmed, Kamal (19 July 2013). "GSK chief Andrew Witty set to admit China 'scam'". The Daily Telegraph. London. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  19. ^ Rojas, John-Paul (24 July 2013). "GlaxoSmithKline boss Sir Andrew Witty:: UK headquarters 'knew nothing' of China fraud". The Independent. London. Retrieved 9 January 2015.
  20. ^ Romeo, Valentina. "Neil Woodford launches fresh attack on GlaxoSmithKline - Money Marketing Money Marketing". Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  21. ^ "GlaxoSmithKline chief Sir Andrew Witty to step down - BBC News". Retrieved 16 January 2017.
  22. ^ "UnitedHealth names former GSK CEO Andrew Witty as Optum head". reuters. Retrieved 23 July 2018.
  23. ^ "No. 60009". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2011. p. 2.
  24. ^ "Flora London Marathon - Andrew Witty's Fundraising Page". JustGiving. Archived from the original on 13 July 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  25. ^ Peston, Robert (30 August 2008). "Leading Questions: Andrew Witty" (Flash video, 21m30s). BBC News. Retrieved 11 December 2010.
  26. ^ Lyall, Ian (23 October 2008). "City interview: Glaxo's Andrew Witty". This is Money. Retrieved 11 December 2010.

External links

Business positions
Preceded by
Jean-Pierre Garnier
Chief Executive Officer of GlaxoSmithKline
Succeeded by
Emma Walmsley
Academic offices
Preceded by
Yang Fujia
Chancellor of the University of Nottingham