Phil Thomson | Influence 100

Phil Thomson 

President, Global Affairs 



Thomson has spent more than two decades with toothpastes-to-vaccines firm GSK, joining Glaxo Wellcome as a commercial trainee in 1996 and serving in numerous marketing and public relations roles before being entrusted with global communications responsibility in 2010.

After expanding his role to include government affairs in 2014, Thomson is now a member of the group’s corporate executive team, with specific responsibilities for the group’s strategic approach to reputation, corporate responsibility, global health, China and Britain’s withdrawal from the European Union. He is also responsible for the group’s engagement and relationships with investors, media, government, key global community partners and employees, as the company negotiates its path through the pricing pressures and technological disruption being faces by the rest of the pharma industry.

As one of the world’s biggest vaccine manufacturers, the pandemic is turning out to be a particularly interesting period in communications and public affairs terms for GSK, as it seeks to balance announcements about its vaccine – in partnership with Sanofi – and corporate developments including spinning off its consumer healthcare business and increasing sales at the remaining pharmaceuticals and vaccines business, provisionally called “New GSK”.

Thomson reports to GSK’s CEO Emma Walmsley, who took over from Sir Andrew Whitty in 2017 and has delegated to Thomson the task of making the company’s case to ministers as they shape a strategy to protect the life sciences industry post-Brexit.