Chris Gent

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
This article is about the businessman. For the basketballer, see Chris Jent.
Sir Chris Gent
Born Christopher Charles Gent
10 May 1948 (1948-05-10) (age 66)
Beckenham, Kent, England
Residence Lambourn, Berkshire, England
Nationality British
Ethnicity White British
Education Tenison's School
Occupation Businessman
Years active 1971–present
Title
Spouse(s) Ex-wife (divorced)
Kate, Lady Gent (m. 1999)
Children 2 daughters (via 1st marriage)
2 sons (via 2nd marriage)
Website
Official Site of GlaxoSmithKline

Sir Christopher Charles Gent HonFREng[1] (born 10 May 1948) is a British businessman, He is the former chief executive officer of Vodafone, a British multinational mobile phone company. He is currently the chairman of GlaxoSmithKline, the world's fourth largest pharmaceutical company.

Early life[edit]

Born in 1948 in Beckenham, Kent, Gent was raised in Gosport, Hampshire.[2] He attended Tenison's School, then a grammar school in Kennington. His father died when he was at school. He is one of four brothers (Rod, Chris, Jeremy and Pete). From 1977–79, he was Chairman of the Young Conservatives.

Career[edit]

He first worked for the National Westminster Bank in 1971 as a management trainee, then as a computer services manager at Schroders. In 1979 he became the Managing Director of Baric, a company owned by ICL and Barclays.

Vodafone[edit]

Gent was widely credited with transforming Vodafone from a small British company into a global giant, and who engineered Vodafone's 178 billion pound ($212 billion) historic purchase of Germany's Mannesmann in 2000. He became its Managing Director in January 1985 and its chief executive officer (taking over from Sir Gerald Whent) in January 1997.

In 2001, Gent was an advocate of the United Kingdon joining the euro [1]

After retiring from Vodafone in July 2003, he was awarded the honorary title of Company's President for Life on his departure as a mark of his achievement in developing the company, until his resignation from that position in March 2006. The title carried no salary, nor any advisory responsibilities, but was a symbolic link to the business that few former chief executives are allowed to retain.

He is now Chairman of GlaxoSmithKline, a British multinational pharmaceutical company, joining in June 2004 and becoming Chairman on 1 January 2005.

From October 2005 to October 2006 he served on the Tax Reform Commission, established by the then Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, George Osborne MP.

Gent was one of four members of the compensation committee of the board at Lehman Brothers that authorised the payout for its failed CEO, Dick Fuld, who received $34 m in 2007 and $40.5 m in 2006.[3]


Personal life[edit]

In 2006 he was awarded an honorary degree (Doctor of Laws) from the University of Bath. He received a knighthood for his services to the telecoms industry in the 2001 Queen's Birthday Honours. He was also appointed as a HonFREng[4] of the Royal Academy of Engineering[5] in 2004.


In March 2007 Gent called for a referendum on London's hosting of the 2012 Olympics. He was quoted as saying "I cannot see that the long-term economic benefit of hosting the Games outweighs the costs and the horrific burden on the taxpayer, particularly London rate-payers. The cost for them is going to be astronomically high."[6]

Gent is an avid sports fan and enjoys golf, skiing and tennis. However, his real passion is cricket, having grown up next door to The Oval and he is well-known to travel long distances to attend matches. He famously instigated the deal with Airtouch whilst on his mobile phone at the Sydney Cricket Ground.[7] Vodafone sponsored the England cricket team for many years until 2007. He married Kate in July 1999 in Wokingham and they have two sons. He has two daughters from a former marriage. He lives in Lambourn in Berkshire.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "List of Fellows". 
  2. ^ Burkeman, Oliver (15 December 2003). "The Monday Interview: Christopher Gent". The Guardian. 
  3. ^ The Lex Column (2008-12-22). "Overpaid CEO award". Financial Times: 12. 
  4. ^ "List of Fellows". 
  5. ^ "List of Fellows". 
  6. ^ http://www.thefirstpost.co.uk/index.php?menuID=1&subID=1205
  7. ^ Brunel University. "Christopher Gent, Honorary Graduates 2000". Brunel University. 

External links[edit]