UK-based drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline mulls Kenya staff cuts

A GlaxoSmithKline facility. FILE PHOTO | NMG
A GlaxoSmithKline facility. FILE PHOTO | NMG 

UK drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline says it is embarking on a significant staff restructuring that could include redundancies in its Kenya operations.

The pharmaceutical firm said the restructuring follows a decision last year to create a new operating model for its African markets business to boost its competitiveness.
The Africa job cuts will involve more than 20 countries in the continent, the company said.

The plan is spearheaded by chief executive Emma Walmsley and is aimed at cutting costs.


A report by Reuters quoted the drugmaker saying it will, as part of the reorganisation, stop marketing and promotion to healthcare professionals and will instead opt for distributors in 29 sub-Saharan markets.

The move will lead to job losses, a company spokesman confirmed but declined to give a number.

The Business Daily’s efforts to reach GlaxoSmithKline Kenya office were unsuccessful by the time this story was published.

The multinational said it, however, plans to keep running its local operations in Kenya and Nigeria, according to the Reuters report.

GlaxoSmithKline has a production facility on Likoni Road in Nairobi’s Industrial Area. The company said it would also retain offices in Ivory Coast and Ghana.

30 programmes

Ms Walmsley, who took over in April, has announced plans to terminate or divest more than 30 drug-development programmes and offload 130 brands while Glaxo takes steps to reduce costs and revamp its research and development.

She has also reportedly already replaced about 50 of 125 managers as she seeks to revamp the drugmaker.

The company’s former CEO Andrew Witty, had nearly four years ago unveiled plans to invest about Sh18.4 billion in Africa and create at least 500 jobs.

Glaxo’s existing business in Africa at the time employed about 1,500 people in more 40 countries, including at manufacturing sites in Kenya, Nigeria and South Africa.

The multinational plans to ensure the changes don’t disrupt patients’ access to its drugs.