Friday 13 March 2015

GSK setting up new global HQ for Asia in Singapore

Global HQ, dose of local talent for GSK
EDB to work with firms like drug giant to develop Singaporeans: DPM Tharman
By Ong Kai Xuan And Jacqueline Woo, The Straits Times, 12 Mar 2015

THE Economic Development Board (EDB) will work closely with companies such as British drug giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) to develop local talent as Singapore embarks on a new growth phase, said Deputy Prime Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam.

He was speaking yesterday at the opening of GSK's global headquarters for Asia - the latest coup in Singapore's successful drive to become a biomedical sciences hub.

Seven of the world's top 10 pharmaceutical companies have regional headquarters here, and GSK is one of them.

"EDB is also working with GSK so that it will be a strong partner for Singapore as we embark on our SkillsFuture journey: To reach the next frontier in our economy, anchored by skills and mastery, and to develop Singaporeans for leadership in various fields," said Mr Tharman, who is also Finance Minister.

"(Such firms) bring together a range of commercial functions and provide diverse career opportunities and pathways for Singaporeans."

The new headquarters - an eight-storey facility over nearly 15,000 sq m of space in one-north - will support local GSK businesses across the region, most notably in decision-making.

It will also house a global learning centre for staff, which will host various training programmes and allow cross-learning between different divisions and regions.

In his speech, Mr Tharman cited three people who are already developing strong careers at GSK, which provides "high-quality jobs".

They are Dr Anna Ng, supply chain logistics director for Asia; Mr Lim Hock Heng, managing director and vice-president of Glaxo Wellcome Manufacturing; and Mr Lam Siew Hong, a superintendent at GSK's Jurong plant.

All three had expanded their careers across different job divisions and functions, he said.

Singapore's biomedical industry, which employs 16,800 people, notched up its output to $21.5 billion last year.

"(GSK's) decision is testimony to our value proposition as a trusted biomedical sciences hub, where companies can access global talent and build strategic capabilities to spearhead their growth in the region," said EDB chairman Beh Swan Gin.

GSK is moving its 700 employees from the corporate and commercial office in Gateway West to the new headquarters, slated to be completed by the end of next year.

The drug giant will hire 100 people as well.

The company employs some 900 other staff across its three manufacturing facilities in Jurong, Quality Road and Tuas.


Under the SkillsFuture Leadership Development Initiative, EDB has worked with companies such as GSK, which are recognised "people developers", Dr Beh told The Straits Times later.

"EDB partners with such companies to enhance the developmental features of these programmes" including by incorporating mentorship elements or milestone overseas assignments, he added.

"This will equip Singaporeans with the skills and experiences important for leadership roles," he said.

GSK chief executive Andrew Witty said the expansion signals GSK's commitment to better support patients' and consumers' needs across the region. He said the consumer health-care, pharmaceuticals and vaccines markets are expected to grow significantly in emerging markets - most of which are in Asia.

GSK delivered 47 billion treatment doses to the emerging markets last year, which, together with Japan, contribute to about half of GSK's revenue today.

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