The $96m phone call

Cheryl Eckard.pngIn the Boom period, it was the investment bankers who used to walk away with telephone number fees, after convincing a CEO to go after an acquisition ‘opportunity’.

Now, in another sign of the New Normal, it is a former quality control manager who has become $96m richer, after making a ‘whistleblower’ call to GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) then CEO, JP Garnier.

Her call, in July 2003, was not returned. And this proved a costly mistake. She was trying to warn him, after failing at lower management levels, that quality in the Puerto Rico factory which she had been auditing, was not up to standard.

The result, 7 years later, is that she will now get a $96m share of the $750m settlement made between US regulators and GSK. As The Guardian newspaper notes, this is “an extraordinary sum, but the failings in GSK’s factory were also extraordinary“.

DuPont taught us all, back in the 1980’s, that safety was the top priority for management. The arrival of the New Normal, with fines like this, will no doubt help to remind us.

About Paul Hodges

Paul Hodges is Chairman of International eChem, trusted commercial advisers to the global chemical industry. He also serves as a Global Expert for the World Economic Forum. The aim of this blog is to share ideas about the influences that may shape the chemical industry and the global economy over the next 12 – 18 months. It looks behind today’s headlines, to understand what may happen next in critical areas such as oil prices, China and Emerging Markets, currencies, autos, housing, economic growth and the environment. Please do join me and share your thoughts. Between us, we will hopefully develop useful insights into the key factors that will drive the industry's future performance.

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