dave lewis

Former Tesco boss Dave Lewis is set to lead the £40bn GlaxoSmithKline consumer division to be spun-out next year.

GSK confirmed this morning that Lewis would take up the role of non-executive chairman designate of the new consumer healthcare company, which will result from the proposed demerger, from 1 January 2022.

The separation of the consumer arm – which still needs shareholder approval – is expected to take place by the middle of next year, with GSK offloading 80% of the business. The new resulting company is expected to attain a premium listing on the London Stock Exchange, GSK said.

Supplying such household brands as Panadol, Gaviscon, Beechams, Piriton and Sensodyne, the division generates annual revenues of about £10bn.

GSK said Lewis, who is attributed with a turnaround at Teso following a major accounting scandal at the retailer, was “a highly experienced and respected global business leader in consumer goods and retail”.

As chairman designate, Lewis will support preparations for the demerger and lead the process to establish the new board of directors of the new consumer healthcare company.

“GSK Consumer Healthcare is a world-class business with significant prospects and a high-quality leadership team,” Lewis said.

“I am looking forward to being part of its exciting future as an independent company and the very positive impact it can have on people’s health all over the world.”

GSK chairman Jonathan Symonds added: “I am delighted to welcome Dave as chair designate of the new consumer healthcare company. He brings outstanding global consumer and retail sector experience that will be of valuable support to Brian and the management team as they deliver the full potential of this new world-leading consumer healthcare company.”

Lewis, who was CEO of Tesco from 2014 to 2020, will be paid £700,000 a year for the new role.

Prior to joining Tesco, he served in a variety of management positions with Unilever from 1987 to 2014, earning the nickname ‘Drastic Dave’ for his cost-cutting measures.

Today’s announcement follows the appointment of Brian McNamara as CEO designate of the new consumer healthcare company in July 2021.

Shares in GSk have opened down 1.9% this morning to 1,583p.

Morning update

Elsewhere, it’s a quiet start to the week for the markets as the City winds down ahead of the festive break.

Over the weekend, Sainsbury’s unveiled a new Christmas price match campaign against Aldi.

The supermarket is selling Scottish smoked salmon at £4.49 for 300g and all the vegetable trimmings, including potatoes, sprouts, carrots, cabbage, swede and parsnips, for 19p a pack.

A 1.4kg gammon joint is priced at £5.70 and a triple chocolate gateau is priced at £1.69. Turkey crowns will be available for £6.89 a kilo.

The campaign will be live until 24 December.

Chief marketing officer Mark Given said: “Great value at Sainsbury’s isn’t just for Christmas. We’re ending the year as we plan to start 2022 – with brilliant campaigns on our delicious food – and there’s much more to come in the year ahead from Sainsbury’s.”

The FTSE 100 slumped 2% this morning to 7,128.88pts as fears over another coronavirus lockdown in the UK spooked investors.

Lockdown losers WH Smith and SSP Group both plunged 4.9% to 1,332p and 3.9% to 214.6p respectively, while Fevertree Drinks fell 3.8% to 2,589p and Glanbia is down 3.6% to €12.51.

Associated British Foods, Bakkavor, Britvic, Coca-Cola HBC, Diageo, Greencore, Hotel Chocolat Group all suffered heavy falls as well.

Lockdown winners Deliveroo, Hellofresh and Ocado Group rose 3.5% to 222.1p, 3.5% to €71.38 and 0.3% to 1,727p respectively.

This week in the City

There is little in the way of scheduled news this week as the City prepares for the holidays, although the London Stock Market is open every day as normal until lunch-time on Christmas Eve.