What Is The Secret Of Emma Walmsley’s Leadership Success?



The news that GSK has appointed Emma Walmsley as their new CEO has been described in the press as a watershed moment with headlines referring to her as the most powerful woman in business today.


Having worked with Emma when she was GM for Garnier/ Maybelline during her time at L’Oréal, I am in not doubt that although she is an impressive role model for women everywhere, her appointment to Chief Exec has nothing to do with the fact she is female and everything to do with her being a World-Class leader.


So based on my first-hand experience of working with Emma, here is the “secret sauce” that makes her a truly great leader who is performing at the very top of her game.


A Winning Combination

I believe the secret to Emma Walmsley’s leadership success is that winning combination of IQ (Actual Intelligence), TQ (Technical Experience), CQ (Commercial Savvy) and EQ (Emotional Intelligence) that enables her to engage and motivate others to be the very best that they can be.


1. IQ – Actual Intelligence

Emma clearly has a high IQ, having attended Oxford University where she studied Classics and Modern Languages. She is remembered by fellow students for being exceptionally clever and this intelligence was evident in all my dealings with her.


2. TQ – Technical Experience

With over 17 years experience at L’Oréal working in a variety of international marketing and management roles, followed by six years heading up GSK’s Consumer Healthcare business, Emma has the relevant technical experience to shape GSK’s strategy and operations going forward.


3. CQ – Commercial Savvy

Emma understands better than most about the bottom line and I was always impressed by her ambition and drive to deliver great commercial results. This combined with her resilience and ability to persevere in the face of adversity will stand her in good stead as she takes on new challenges in her role as CEO.


4. EQ – Emotional Intelligence

Emma is an emotionally intelligent leader who is able to lead, manage and coach because she has highly developed social skills, self-awareness, self-management and ambition. During my time at L’Oréal, Emma empowered her team and always focused on people development. She was ambitious for the people working for her and I saw lots of young graduates move into senior roles in a short space of time with her support. These skills will be key to motivating and inspiring GSK’s global workforce of 100,000.


By leveraging this winning combination of IQ, TQ, CQ and EQ, Emma looks in prime position to lead GSK into an exciting and successful new chapter and I wish her every success in her new role.


Author: Kate Cannon


Close Menu