Sir Richard Sykes

Sir Richard Sykes

Sir Richard Sykes joined Glaxo Research in 1972 as Head of its Antibiotic Research Unit. In 1977 he moved to the US to join the Squibb Institute for Medical Research where he progressed to Vice President, before rejoining Glaxo in the UK as Chief Executive of Glaxo Group Research in 1986.

In March 1993 Sir Richard was appointed Chairman and Chief Executive of Glaxo, taking on the same roles at Glaxo Wellcome in 1997 following the acquisition of Wellcome. He subsequently led the company until 2002, through the formation of GlaxoSmithKline. 

Sir Richard was Rector of Imperial College London from 2001 to 2008, Senior Independent Director of Rio Tinto plc from 1997 to 2008 and Chairman of NHS London from December 2008 to July 2010.

Board Mandates

Sir Richard is Chairman of Imperial College Healthcare NHS Trust, Chairman of the Royal Institution of Great Britain, Chairman of NetScientific plc and Chairman of PDS Biotechnology Corporation. He was Vice-Chairman at Swiss life sciences company Lonza Group until April 2013 and until June 2011 Senior Independent Director, Non-Executive Deputy Chairman and Chairman of the Remuneration Committee of ENRC.

He remains Chairman of The UK Stem Cell Foundation. He is also Chairman of the International Advisory Board, A*Star Biomedical Research Council, Singapore and Chancellor of Brunel University. 

Sir Richard has also been Chairman of the British Pharma Group, Medeus Pharma, member of the President's Committee of the Confederation of British Industry, member of the UK Trade Policy Forum, Chairman of the Task Force for Inward Investment in the UK Pharmaceutical Industry, member of the Advisory Committee for Human Genome Research, member of the Council for Industry & Higher Education and member of DTI's Strategy Board. He has also been on the board of Rio Tinto and ContraFect as well as Non-Executive Chairman of Circassia Holdings Ltd.


Sir Richard holds a number of degrees and awards from institutions both in the UK and overseas. He is a Fellow of the Royal Society and Academy of Medical Sciences, and Honorary Fellow of the Royal Academy of Engineering, Royal Society of Chemistry, Royal Pharmaceutical Society, Royal College of Pathologists and Royal College of Physicians. He is also President of the R&D Society, a position he has held since July 2002. He is a Fellow of Imperial College London and Imperial College School of Medicine, King's College London, a Fleming Fellow at Lincoln College and Honorary Fellow of the University of Wales, Cardiff and the University of Central Lancashire. 

Sir Richard received a Knighthood in the 1994 New Year's Honours list for services to the pharmaceutical industry and was awarded Honorary Citizenship of Singapore in 2004 for his contribution to the development of the country's biomedical sciences industry.

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