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HSBC CFO Mackay leads race for Glaxo job

By Mark Kleinman, City editor
The departing group finance director of HSBC Holdings is in talks to join GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Britain's largest pharmaceuticals group by market value.
Sky News has learnt that Iain Mackay, whose exit from Europe's biggest lender was announced last month, has emerged as the leading external candidate to become GSK's new chief financial officer.
Sources said that Mr Mackay had been in discussions with Emma Walmsley, the drug-maker's chief executive, and Sir Philip Hampton, its chairman, for several weeks.GSK said in May that Simon Dingemans, a former Goldman Sachs partner, would step down next year after eight years at the company.Mr Mackay is understood to face competition for the GSK role from David Redfern, the company's chief strategy officer.An appointment is expected to be made later this year, although sources suggested on Friday that it was not imminent.If Mr Mackay does get the nod for the post, he would join GSK after a fresh revival of perennial speculation about a break-up of the company.The Financial Times reported last weekend that some leading shareholders in the group were pushing for its board to contemplate separating its consumer healthcare unit, which produces brands such as Aquafresh and Panadol, from its drug discovery business.However, people close to the company sought this week to play down speculation that the option was under active consideration by GSK.Announcing second-quarter results this week, Ms Walmsley said the board's position was "unchanged".
The company's financial performance, which historically has provided a regular source of consternation in the City, was well-received by analysts.GSK also announced a $300m investment in 23andMe, a Silicon Valley-based gene-testing company which is in the vanguard of new techniques for discovering drug compounds.Mr Mackay would be regarded as a sensible choice for the top finance job at GSK, which has a market capitalisation of about €76.5bn.He has had some experience of the broader healthcare industry, serving for a short time as chief financial officer of General Electric's global diagnostic imaging division.Mr Mackay joined HSBC in 2007, shortly before the financial crisis, replacing Douglas Flint as chief financial officer in 2010.The bank has said that it will replace Mr Mackay with Ewen Stevenson, who holds the same job at Royal Bank of Scotland.
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However, RBS is unlikely to let Mr Stevenson move to HSBC until it has its own successor lined up.GSK and HSBC both declined to comment.
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