Vaxcyte asks chairman Slaoui to step down after GSK harassment claim By Reuters

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© Reuters. FILE PHOTO: Moncef Slaoui adjusts his protective face mask after speaking at a coronavirus disease response event in the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington

(Reuters) -U.S. vaccine developer Vaxcyte Inc said on Thursday chairman Moncef Slaoui has agreed to step down, a day after he was dismissed from a firm controlled by GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE:) on allegations of sexual harassment toward a GSK employee.

Vaxcyte said the company sought resignation from Slaoui, former chief adviser to the U.S. COVID-19 vaccine development program, not because of any dispute with him, but based on GSK investigation into harassment claims by its employee.

An investigation into his conduct, performed on GSK’s behalf by an independent law firm, had substantiated allegations of harassment and inappropriate contact, GSK said on Wednesday, adding the inquiry was ongoing.

The probe was the result of a letter received by GSK containing allegations of inappropriate conduct toward a company employee years ago.

Slaoui had on Wednesday night acknowledged his dismissal from Galvani Bioelectronics, a GSK-controlled firm, and issued an apology to the employee.

“I am deeply sorry for any distress caused. I would also like to apologize to my wife and family for the pain this is causing,” Slaoui said in a statement.

He joined Vaxcyte’s board in July 2017 and became chairman in May 2018.

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