GSK’s Peter Kirkby

Staying connected to be more effective in addressing key stakeholder needs

Peter Kirkby began his career in marketing by learning the profession at Procter & Gamble. Peter worked for P&G for seven years – the first five from 1990 to 1995 in different brand management roles in the U.K., and the last two in Bucharest. From 1997 to 2002, Peter left the client side to work as a marketing consultant working for clients across the U.K., continental Europe and the U.S.

In 2002, his client GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) successfully enticed him to join the very team he had been consulting and he has remained on the client side ever since. As Vice-President Marketing Strategy & Excellence for GlaxoSmithKline’s Consumer Healthcare sector Future Group, today Peter oversees global consumer and market insight, strategy, brand and communications planning, digital marketing, agency management, and the company’s marketing capability program. Kirkby is a passionate believer in building capacities across global brands, countries and disciplines. In 2005, GSK introduced a new more centralized global marketing and R&D organization dubbed the ‘Future Group.’ Peter’s role is to help accelerate brand growth and build the trust and effectiveness of the Future Group model.

Long dedicated to ensuring that central marketing teams never lose sight of local reality, and remain connected by listening and interacting with major markets, Peter quickly reached out to key stakeholders all across the business to gauge key market opportunities, challenges, and priorities as they perceived them with a dedicated PulseCheck. By repeating the PulseCheck annually ever since, Peter and the team have stayed connected to local markets and been able to measure quantitatively how effective the Future Group has been in addressing key stakeholder needs.

Peter’s Servant Leadership mindset and actions in the first few months of the Future Group’s existence did much to build key stakeholder confidence in the new group and win support for the more global approach. His insights and actions have made an important impact on the effectiveness of global marketing at GSK.

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“To drive growth we needed to step-change our innovation. The new global organization would need to concentrate and take the lead on driving the growth and innovation agenda on our global brands. In short, our brands needed to become ‘future brands.”​

—Peter Kirkby, Vice-President Marketing Strategy & Excellence, GlaxoSmithKline

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