June 12, 2018 / 1:39 PM / 4 months ago

UPDATE 1-GSK says vaccine business president to leave by year-end

(Adds details on Debruyne, Connor, context)

June 12 (Reuters) - GlaxoSmithKline Plc said the president of its vaccines business, Luc Debruyne, would leave the company at the end of the year.

Roger Connor, president of its global manufacturing and supply division since 2012, would replace Debruyne on September 1.

Debruyne has held a number of roles during his career at GlaxoSmithKline, including general manager in the Netherlands and Italy and senior vice president of the company's pharmaceuticals business in Europe.

CEO Emma Walmsley said earlier this year she was increasingly confident the company would be able to drive sales and profit growth over the next few years, helped by newer products such as its successful new shingles vaccine Shingrix.

Debruyne, who has been president of the division since 2013, oversaw the successful integration of the Novartis vaccines business, preparation of the Shingrix launch and building a stronger presence in the United States, GSK said on Tuesday.

The company has faced a difficult few years, marred by a lack of new blockbuster drugs emerging from its research labs, dwindling sales of its ageing lung drug Advair and a corruption scandal in China.

Still, even with a renewed sense of urgency about R&D productivity, GSK's transformation will take time, with its next batch of new medicines not ready to reach the market before 2020.

Connor has led the strategic transformation of GSK's supply chain to support improved quality and supply performance, the company said in a statement.

"He has a proven track record of leading a complex, global organisation, developing organisational capability and driving cultural transformation," GSK said.

Big challenges loom in two key areas for GSK, with a new drug from Gilead Sciences threatening the HIV business and U.S. generic competition to Advair possible by mid-2018.

Reporting by Justin George Varghese in Bengaluru and Ben Hirschler in London; Editing by Adrian Croft

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