Moncef Slaoui, who served as chief scientist for former President Donald Trump’s COVID-19 vaccine development program Operation Warp Speed, has been fired as chairman of a pharmaceutical board over “substantiated” sexual harassment allegations against him, the company said Wednesday.
The allegations against Slaoui, who lost his position as chair of the board of directors for Galvani Bioelectronics, first came to light through a letter the company received in February, according to the company’s majority shareholder, GlaxoSmithKline (GSK).
A law firm’s investigation into Slaoui’s conduct ultimately substantiated the allegations, which involved a GSK employee and took place “several years ago,” according to GSK, which is based in the U.K.
No other details of the allegations were available, but GSK described them in a statement as “wholly unacceptable,” adding: “They represent an abuse of his leadership position, violate company policies, and are contrary to the strong values that define GSK’s culture.”
GSK CEO Emma Walmsley admonished Slaoui’s actions in an internal memo to staff obtained by Politico.
“Dr. Slaoui’s behaviours represent an abuse of his leadership position and violate our company policies, our values, and our commitment to Trust — a commitment I know is shared by all of you,” she said.
HuffPost was unable to contact Slaoui for comment.
Slaoui spent several decades with GSK, first joining the company in 1988 and the Board in 2006, according to a 2016 letter announcing his retirement, which was planned for the following year. Trump named him Operation Warp Speed’s chief scientist in May 2020 and he submitted his resignation in January to the then-incoming Biden administration.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this story indicated the allegations against Slaoui came from a former employee. The employment status of the person who came forward has not been released.