Neds’ firms face legal probes

Companies run by two lead departmental non-executive directors (Neds) have been publicly accused of serious wrongdoing.

By Joshua.Chambers

24 Apr 2013

An investigation into Glaxosmithkline (GSK), whose chief executive is Andrew Witty – the lead Ned for the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS) – was launched by the Office for Fair Trading (OfT) last week.

The OfT is investigating whether GSK broke competition law by paying companies to delay supply of a rival antidepressant medicine. Preventing competition in this way would force the NHS to continue buying GSK’s more expensive drug, the OfT said.

Meanwhile, Standard Chartered Bank, whose chief executive is Peter Sands – lead Ned of the Department of Health – paid £419m of fines in the US in December for illegal financial transactions that avoided US sanctions against Iran. Sands was finance director of the bank whilst many of the transactions took place.

A BIS spokesman said: “Andrew Witty continues to provide valuable leadership and support to the BIS board, which he joined in 2010.”

“GSK supports fair competition and we very strongly believe that we acted within the law,” the company said.

The DH expressed confidence in Sands, and said that he will remain the lead Ned of the department.

Read the most recent articles written by Joshua.Chambers - Interview: Alison Munro

Share this page