The $96m phone call

Chemical companies, Consumer demand

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.

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