Sir Andrew Witty to step down as GlaxoSmithKline chief executive

Pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline has begun the hunt for a successor to chief executive Sir Andrew Witty after announcing he will step down.

Sir Andrew, who has worked for the company and in the industry for the past 32 years, will retire on March 31 2017, the company said. 

He said: "By next year, I will have been CEO for nearly 10 years and I believe this will be the right time for a new leader to take over.

"In making this decision it has been important to me that the board have the time to conduct a full and proper process and that we sustain the momentum of our current business performance, capitalising on the very significant progress we made last year to strengthen the group."

In the company's annual report published separately, it was also revealed that Sir Andrew was awarded a total pay package worth £6.7 million last year - a significant rise on the £3.9 million paid out for 2014.

He was paid a salary of just under £1.1 million, while he was also handed an annual bonus payment of £2.2 million and long-term share awards worth £2.6 million, although 25% of his annual bonus is deferred.

The announcement of his plans to step down also comes as FTSE 100 miner Rio Tinto said chief executive Sam Walsh will retire from the business on July 1 this year and will be succeeded by Copper & Coal chief executive Jean-Sebastien Jacques.

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