As it bids to halt the decline of its respiratory business across the pond, GlaxoSmithKline has unveiled Jack Bailey as replacement for Deirdre Connelly as president of US pharmaceuticals.

Ms Connelly has decided to retire after six years in the role and has received fulsome praise from Abbas Hussain, president of global pharmaceuticals at GSK. In a statement sent to PharmaTimes, he noted that she has led the US organisation “through an incredible transformation as we reshaped our commercial model to reflect the changing needs of our customers in the US, as well as our company values”.  

He added that Ms Connelly played “a major role in stabilising our US business, establishing GSK’s industry-leading approach to incentivising sales representatives and rebuilding trust with our customers”.

However, times are tough for GSK across the Atlantic, notably at its respiratory business. In the fourth quarter, Advair (salmeterol and fluticasone) for asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, fell 27% in the USA, and its new COPD drugs Breo (fluticasone furoate/vilanterol) and Anoro (umeclidinium bromide/vilanterol) have failed to make any significant impact.

Also in December, the company said it intends to reshape its commercial and R&D operations in the US “to be more agile to flex with shifting market demands”. Some 900 job cuts are affecting employees in Philadelphia, its Research Triangle Park campus, and sales reps as part of a restructuring looking to save $1.6 billion a year.

'Exceedingly competitive payer landscape'

Mr Hussain added that “the US marketplace has changed significantly, with an exceedingly competitive payer landscape. As a result, the entire sector is facing new challenges due to pressures on price and access”.

Enter Mr Bailey, who joined GSK in May 2009 and most recently served as head of policy, payers and vaccines. In that role, he was responsible for government affairs, managed markets and the US vaccines business unit, as well as the company’s Puerto Rico operations.
Mr Hussain said the new president brings “an extensive knowledge of the US marketplace”, saying that at GSK, “Jack has been credited with successfully managing a rapidly changing healthcare environment, including the implementation of healthcare reform and an increased focus on the value of medicines”.