Economy & Business

Warp Speed Head Fired from Company Board after Harassment Allegation

Former GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceutical executive Moncef Slaoui, at the White House in Washington, May 15, 2020. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

The former head of Operation Warp Speed, the Trump administration’s coronavirus vaccine development program, was fired from his company board on Wednesday following an allegation of sexual harassment.

Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline removed Moncef Slaoui as chairman of Galvani Bioelectronics, in which GlaxoSmithKline holds a majority stake. Slaoui formerly led vaccine development at GlaxoSmithKline and is credited with the production of 14 new vaccines in ten years.

The company terminated Slaoui’s employment following an investigation after receiving a sexual harassment complaint in February. The alleged harassment occurred “several years ago” and was directed at another employee of GlaxoSmithKline, the company said.

“This action was prompted by one complaint which we acted on swiftly and decisively. This was the first sexual harassment allegation against Dr. Slaoui that we were made aware of,” company spokeswoman Kathleen Quinn told the Washington Post.

“Dr. Slaoui’s behaviors are wholly unacceptable,” GlaxoSmithKline said in a statement. “They represent an abuse of his leadership position, violate company policies, and are contrary to the strong values that define GSK’s culture.”

Slaoui did not immediately comment on his termination.

As head of Operation Warp Speed, Slaoui oversaw development of several coronavirus vaccines. The program secured contracts for development and production of vaccines from Pfizer-BioNTech, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and Astrazeneca.

Slaoui predicted in November 2020 that the U.S. could return to pre-pandemic conditions by May 2021, saying that 70 percent of Americans needed to be vaccinated in order to reach a sufficient level of immunity in the general population.

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Zachary Evans is a news writer for National Review Online. He is a veteran of the Israeli Defense Forces and a trained violist.


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