Claire Thomas, senior vice president, HR, GlaxoSmithKline


Claire is Senior Vice President HR for GSK and a member of the Corporate Executive Team.

Claire has 26 years proven success as a senior leader in a complex, dynamic, global environment, working with GlaxoSmithKline and previously Ford Motor Company. She has extensive and broad experience on the Corporate Executive Team at GlaxoSmithKline and a sustained trusted working relationship with the Board, most recently designing and running all aspects of the 2016 CEO succession process.

Claire has been the Group HR Director for GSK since 2008, directly leading a team of 1,700 Human Resources and Employee Health professionals.

Claire has led through systematic enterprise wide changes. She has experience of multiple global business development deals including the GlaxoWellcome/SmithKlineBeecham merger and the Novartis Consumer JV and Vaccines acquisition. She has significant experience in scale resource allocation from investment in emerging markets, realisation of efficiencies through standardisation of Global Support Functions and rebalancing of headcount across diversified business units. Claire has also encountered and navigated challenging events through her career from strikes and industrial unrest at Ford Motor Company in the 1990s through to GSK’s high profile bribery and corruption crisis in China.

Claire has extensive experience in worldwide talent management and executive development. She has overseen the Company talent strategy with a focus on critical roles, diversity and a systematic approach to succession planning. GSK enjoys high retention of senior management and 46% of GSK’s leadership population (c. 15,000) are women.

Claire has built a world class influential HR team and function which has been transformed through global operating model changes, investment in technology and talent whilst improving its cost effectiveness. The function has a track record of culture change, talent management, graduate recruitment, leadership development and progressive programmes in health, wellbeing and volunteering.

Outside GSK Claire has advised the Government as a non-executive director at the Department of Energy and Climate Change, and has presented to and advised the Head of the Civil Service on talent. Claire won the European Business Woman of Achievement Award in 2007.

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