Deirdre Connelly, who oversees GlaxSmithKline’s (NYSE: GSK) operations in the Triangle from her office in Philadelphia, is retiring and will be replaced by another GSK veteran exec.

The changes are effective immediately.

GSK, its sales slumping, is in the process of cutting some 900 workers in the Triangle as part of layoffs announced in December. Several hundred of those will join Parexel, another company in Durham.

Bloomberg news first reported the change.

“The U.S. marketplace has changed significantly, with an exceedingly competitive payer landscape,” said Abbas Hussain. the head of GSK’s global pharmaceuticals, in the note to employees obtained by Bloomberg. “As a result the entire sector is facing new challenges due to pressures on price and access.”

FiercePharma. a widely read life science news site, says GSK management, including Chief Executive Officer Andrew Witty, has been under pressure for months to revive slumping sales.

“Last fall, after GSK surprised the market with slumping Advair sales in the U.S., disappointed institutional investors were said to be pressing GSK for management changes,” FirecePharma reported. “Some demanded change at the very top–CEO Andrew Witty or Chairman Christopher Gent, on the verge of retirement already. But other U.K. market-watchers pegged Connelly as a potential sacrificial lamb.”

Connelly, 54, has led GSK’s North America operations for the past six years.

Bailey has been with the company since 2009 and had served as senior vice president for policy, payers and vaccines. 


GSK’s North American operations are responsible for some one third of GSK revenues.

“Connelly, a former Eli Lilly & Co. executive, has been in the spotlight for months as U.S. drug sales dropped from 2009, when she took the helm,” Bloomberg reported. “As part of a management reshuffle last year, she began reporting to Abbas Hussain, Glaxo’s head of global pharmaceuticals, rather than directly to Witty.”