Trump's Vaccine Chief Fired for 'Unacceptable' Behavior

GSK says allegations of sexual harassment against Slaoui were 'substantiated'
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Mar 24, 2021 2:39 PM CDT

(Newser) – A swift fall from grace for Dr. Moncef Slaoui, who led the Trump's administration's Operation Warp Speed effort to develop and distribute COVID vaccines: Slaoui has been fired as chairman of the board of directors at Galvani Bioelectronics over sexual harassment allegations, NBC reports. GlaxoSmithKline, Galvani's parent company, says it received a letter containing "allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct" toward a female colleague years ago, when Slaoui was a GSK employee. GSK says its board launched an investigation with a law firm, and the investigation "substantiated the allegations and is ongoing." The company says this is the first such allegation involving Slaoui, its former chairman for vaccines, and it acted "swiftly and decisively."

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"Dr. Slaoui's behaviors are wholly unacceptable. They represent an abuse of his leadership position, violate company policies, and are contrary to the strong values that define GSK’s culture," the company said in a statement. CEO Emma Walmsley said she admires the courage and strength of the woman who came forward. "On a personal level, I am shocked and angry about all of this, but I'm resolute," she said. "I want to be clear that sexual harassment is strictly prohibited and will not be tolerated." Slaoui's Warp Speed role involved evaluating potential vaccines and choosing which would receive federal funding, the Washington Post reports. He was widely praised for getting vaccines authorized in record time, though the rollout was slow and sometimes chaotic. He stepped down in January at the Biden administration's request. (Read more GlaxoSmithKline stories.)

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