GlaxoSmithKline added another female chief executive to the FTSE 100 yesterday when it announced that Emma Walmsley, its head of consumer healthcare, would become its next CEO. She’ll take over for Andrew Witty, who’d previously announced that he’s retiring in March 2017, and she’ll join the company’s board in January.

In assuming the CEO title, Walmsley, No. 33 on this year’s MPW International list, will be the seventh woman leading a FTSE 100 company as she joins the ranks already occupied by Carolyn McCall of discount airline EasyJet, Moya Greene of Royal Mail, Veronique Laury of home improvement retailer Kingfisher, Alison Cooper of tobacco company Imperial Brands, Alison Brittain of Costa Coffee owner Whitbread, and Liv Garfield at Severn Trent.

But at some $104 billion, GSK has a market capitalization far higher than any other women-led FTSE 100 company, meaning that when Walmsley takes over the CEO role, she will become arguably the most powerful woman in British business.


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