The former boss of mobile phone giant Vodafone, Sir Christopher Gent, is to take the helm at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
Under Sir Christopher, Vodafone became a world giant
Sir Christopher will become non-executive chairman at Europe's biggest drug maker from January 2005.
He will join GSK as deputy chairman from June and will eventually replace outgoing chairman Sir Christopher Hogg.
Vodafone became the world's biggest mobile phone firm under Sir Christopher, taking over US rival Airtouch and Germany's Mannesmann.
'Years of experience'
Sir Christopher will earn £300,000 per annum in his role as deputy chairman. On his appointment as chairman, he will receive a total of £500,000 a year in cash and shares.
Sir Christopher Hogg, who is also due to step down as chairman of media group Reuters, said his successor would bring to GSK "many years of experience and a track record of delivering outstanding performance in a highly competitive global industry".
News of the appointment comes just days after GSK successfully headed off a rebellion over the company's executive pay packages.
The UK company also announced that Sir Deryck Maughan, chairman and chief executive of Citigroup International, would be joining as a non-executive director.
Both men will work alongside GSK's chief executive, Dr Jean-Pierre Garnier.