People, Politics

Trump invites pharma heads to private dinner during London visit, a trip that’s inspiring tens of thousands to protest

A few key pharma execs have been invited to a private mystery dinner with President Donald Trump just outside London next week, but the party is making some invitees anxious.

Alex Gorsky

The gathering is a black-tie dinner Thursday night hosted by Theresa May, the British prime minister. The dinner’s location is being kept in the dark mainly due to security concerns. Some have speculated to the Financial Times, which first reported the news, that attendees are also wary of being photographed at the occasion.

Emma Walmsley

Among the invitees are a couple of major pharma heads, including Alex Gorsky, the CEO of Johnson & Johnson, and Emma Walmsley, the chief executive at GlaxoSmithKline. No word yet on if they’re attending, but if they do they might dine with the likes of Richard Gnodde, CEO of Goldman Sachs International, and Paul Polman of Unilever. Then Bob Dudley of BP and Ben van Beurden of Shell are also on the guest list.

The event is meant to show Trump the benefits of striking a post-Brexit trade deal with the UK. But some executives are concerned about attending, as it might pose risks to their reputation. Some 50,000 people are planning to protest his visit at the British capital next week.

“I’ve had people asking whether they should go and my advice is that it’s the right thing for shareholders if the US is a major market for the company,” one PR executive told Financial Times. “But they are aware of the potential downsides.”


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