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AZ launches lawsuit against former executive for defecting to GSK

Published on 17/05/17 at 11:03am

AstraZeneca has launched a lawsuit against one of its former executives after he jumped ship to join rival pharma giant GlaxoSmithKline. Previously serving as AZ’s Executive Vice President for Europe, Luke Miels left in January and was appointed as the company’s President of Global Pharmaceuticals, succeeding Abbas Hussain.

GSK’s CEO Emma Walmsley, who stepped up to the position in April, personally selected Miels for the role in what was her first key hiring for the company. However, his transition to the new company has not been smooth – as of last month, both GSK and AZ were still engaged in negotiations over the matter. Miels himself is currently on gardening leave.

This week, GSK issued a statement saying: “Luke is a very talented individual that we’ve appointed to lead our pharmaceuticals business. We look forward to welcoming him to GSK in due course.”

Following this period of uncertainty, Miels’ former employer now asserts that he is in breach of contract, detailed in a filing on 10 May, though the exact terms were not disclosed. AZ announced that it has "issued proceedings seeking an order confirming that Mr Miels is required to abide by the terms of his contract of employment." It remains to be seen how this will affect Miels’ transition, or GSK’s operations.  

Matt Fellows

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