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First State Investments, Bribery & Corruption

GlaxoSmithKline is a multinational pharmaceutical and healthcare company. In 2014, following allegations of bribery in China, we contacted the company to understand the issue and approach the company was taking. Having previously spent some time with the new management team of GlaxoSmithKline discussing the challenges around corruption and bribery in China and elsewhere, we are for now prepared to give the company time to demonstrate its determination to implement wholesale change across every corner of what is a very large organisation.

The incident is a timely reminder of just how hard it is for new management of such large ‘supertanker’ companies to implement change. Having decided on a new course, it can take years, or even decades, before the supertanker can be turned around properly.