GSK said on Wednesday that an investigation by a law firm corroborated the allegations, which concerned incidents that took place several years ago. The probe is in progress.
Following these allegations, Slaoui, who previously led research and development at GSK until 2017, was dismissed from his remaining functions at the company, chairman of the board of directors of its subsidiary Galvani Bioelectronics, a joint venture with Alphabet’s Verily. The company will also rename its vaccine R&D center, which was called Slaoui.
GSK is also reviewing options to purchase Slaoui, which last year was worth around $ 10 million. He had previously refused to give them up when joining Operation Warp Speed, arguing that it was his retirement savings.
Slaoui, who led Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s vaccine development program, did not respond to a request for comment.
Emma Walmsley, chief executive of GSK, wrote a letter to employees saying the company received a letter detailing the allegations in February. She said she was “shocked” and “angry”.
“Since February, the highest levels of our company have been working to understand and resolve what has happened,” she wrote. “Protecting the woman who came forward and her privacy has been a key priority throughout this time. It will continue. I respect and admire his courage and strength. I’ve spent many nights lately putting myself in his shoes. More than anything, this just shouldn’t have happened. ”
GSK has hired Grace Speights, a partner at Washington-based law firm Morgan Lewis, to lead the investigation. Speights is known for her high profile work in matters of workplace misconduct, especially in the age of #MeToo.
The company said in a statement that Slaoui’s behavior was “totally unacceptable”.
“They represent an abuse of his leadership position, violate company policies and run counter to the strong values that define GSK’s culture,” he said.
Operation Warp Speed has been hailed as a positive point in the Trump administration’s response to the coronavirus pandemic. But the project was closed after the takeover of the Biden administration, as the focus was on the deployment of vaccines. The White House and the Department of Health and Human Services did not respond to a request for comment.
Recently, Slaoui became the scientific director of Centessa, a biotech roll-up created from 10 companies supported by Medicxi, a European venture capital company in which he is a partner. Neither Centessa nor Medicxi responded to a request for comment.
Christopher Corsico, senior vice president at GSK and current member of the board of directors of Galvani, will replace Slaoui as president. Amy Altshul, senior vice president of legal franchises, R&D and global business at GSK, has also been appointed to the board of directors.
Additional reporting by Kiran Stacey in Washington