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GSK fires ex-Operation Warp Speed chief Moncef Slaoui over ‘substantiated’ sexual harassment claims

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Moncef Slaoui speaks with President Donald Trump about “Operation Warp Speed” in the Rose Garden at the White House on Friday, Nov 13, 2020 in Washington, DC.

Jabin Botsford | The Washington Post | Getty Images

Moncef Slaoui, who was chief scientist for the U.S. federal government’s Covid vaccine development effort Operation Warp Speed during the Trump administration, was fired as chairman of the board of Galvani Bioelectronics over “substantiated” sexual harassment allegations, it was announced Wednesday.

Slaoui ‘s termination by the board of Galvani‘s majority shareholder GlaxoSmithKline came after receipt of a letter “containing allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct towards an employee of GSK by Dr. Slaoui, which occurred several years ago when he was an employee of GSK,” according to GSK.

“Upon receipt of the letter, the GSK Board immediately initiated an investigation with an experienced law firm to investigate the allegations,” the statement by GSK said.

“The investigation of Dr. Slaoui’s conduct substantiated the allegations and is ongoing.”

GSK said in its statement: “Dr. Slaoui’s behaviours are wholly unacceptable.”

“They represent an abuse of his leadership position, violate company policies, and are contrary to the strong values that define GSK’s culture,” the statement said.

“The company expects everyone at GSK to behave in accordance with its values, especially its leaders where its standards are the highest. Sexual harassment and any abuse of leadership position are strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated.”

Slaoui has been advising the European Union on its coronavirus vaccine rollout.

He spent 30 years at GSK, where he oversaw vaccine development.

Galvani Bioelectronics is a medical research company focused on developing bioelectronic medicines for the treatment of chronic diseases. It as formed through a partnership by GSK and Verily Life Sciences previously known as Google Life Sciences. Verily is a subsidiary of Alphabet, the parent of Google.

Slaoui in January submitted his resignation as Operation Warp Speed chief advisor to the then-incoming administration of President Joe Biden.

Slaoui last year was criticized when he took the OWS role because of his ties to the pharmaceutical.

At the time he was appointed, he was on the board of Moderna, which he resigned from. He also sold his shares in that company and said that he had donated their increase in value during the several days he had held them while at Operation Warp Speed.

But he had refused to sell his GSK shares, calling them his retirement plan.

Christopher Corsico, senior vice president of development at GSK and a current member of Galvani’s board, was appointed as the new chairman of Galvani.

GSK also said that Amy Altshul, its senior vice president of legal, R&D and global commercial franchises, was appointed to the Galvani board.

This is breaking news. Please check back for updates.

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