Professor Roy Anderson, the next rector of Imperial College, has been appointed a non-executive director of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). GSK is well known to Imperial students, as the current Rector, Sir Richard Sykes was chairman of the pharmaceutical giant until his appointment as rector in 2001.
The current chairman of GSK, Sir Christopher Gent, said, "I am delighted that Professor Anderson has agreed to join the Board. In addition to fulfilling the usual responsibilities of a Non-Executive Director, he will spend time within our research and development organisation and, with his experience, will provide the Board with valuable insights to scientific developments outside GSK."
During Sir Richard?s time as rector, some students felt that Imperial was becoming more commercialised, and that more emphasis was placed on the college branding and marketing at the expense of the tradition and history, with the aim of Imperial being able to compete with the world?s best universities. Whilst this was achieved, with Imperial ranked 9th in the world, there was a consensus amongst the student body that some of the spirit of the college was lost.
With Professor Anderson?s appointment as rector, it was hoped that college would return to the more student orientated university of the past, due to him having a mainly academic career, compared to Sir Richard?s commercial one. The appointment to the board of GSK could help Imperial maintain its strong links with industry, whilst still keeping a strong academic tradition, when Sir Roy takes over in Summer 2008.