GSK spin-off will trigger pay bonanza: Boss of new arm in line for £10m


GSK spin-off will trigger pay bonanza: Boss of new consumer arm in line for £10m as advisers hit jackpot

  • Haleon is due to be spun out from GSK next month 
  • It will be the biggest stock market debut for a company in London in a decade  
  • Demerger is key plank of turnaround strategy spearheaded by Emma Walmsley 
  • Brian McNamara, who will head up Haleon, will see his pay packet expand

The splitting off of GSK’s consumer healthcare arm Haleon is expected to generate bumper paydays for both its boss and the advisers who worked on the deal. 

Haleon, which owns brands including Sensodyne toothpaste and Panadol painkillers, is due to be spun out from GSK next month and begin trading on the London Stock Exchange on July 18. 

It will be the biggest stock market debut for a company in London in a decade. It is also expected to list on the New York Stock Exchange. 

The demerger is a key plank of a turnaround strategy spearheaded by GSK boss Dame Emma Walmsley as she tries to shift the firm’s focus towards drugs and vaccines and boost its flagging share price amid pressure from investors. 

Brian McNamara, the current boss of the consumer division who will head up Haleon after the demerger, will see his maximum pay packet expand to £10.4m per year from its current level of £4.4m. 

The sum includes a £300,000 one-off payment which it is understood will be used to help McNamara set up a permanent home in London as well as pay for tax expenses arising from his move to the UK. 

Meanwhile, Sir Dave Lewis, the former head of Tesco who has been recruited as Haleon’s chairman, will be paid a fee of £700,000 per year. 

Bankers and lawyers assisting with the move are also expected to receive a bumper payday with costs related to the split, stock market listing and other transactions expected to top £500m. 

It is not known how much of this will be comprised of fees. 

The details came after it was revealed US drug giant Pfizer planned to sell off its 32 per cent stake in Haleon following the demerger. 

Haleon will also be taking on around £10billion worth of GSK’s debt as part of the demerger which will be to pay a £7billion special dividend to GSK and an additional £3billion to Pfizer. The City expects Haleon to fetch a valuation in the range of £38billion to £45billion when it lists next month, although GSK previously slapped down a £50billion bid for the business by consumer goods giant Unilever, saying it undervalued Haleon’s prospects. 

Swiss giant Nestle also considered making a bid earlier this year in what would have been its biggest deal ever, but backed out. French bank Societe Generale previously said the two businesses could be worth much more than previously thought, with a combined value of as much as £115billion, up from around £90billion today. Following the demerger, Walmsley is planning to focus the remainder of GSK’s business on developing new drugs and vaccines. 

The firm has already hit the acquisition trail to boost its pipeline of new drugs, snapping up Boston-based vaccine maker Affinivax for £2.4billion earlier this week shortly after buying cancer drug group Sierra Oncology for £1.5billion in April. 

Walmsley, 53, who worked at L’Oreal before joining GSK in 2017, has drawn up a blueprint for consistent growth over the next five years that she hopes will silence her critics and deter predators. 

She has drawn criticism from activist investor Elliott Advisors, which believes the board should consider other candidates with more pharmaceutical experience for the top job. 

Elliott took a stake in the company after identifying a significant underperformance compared with AstraZeneca. 

Frustrations with GSK increased when it fell behind in the quest to produce a Covid vaccine.

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