The GlaxoSmithKline building is pictured in Hounslow, west London. Image Credit: REUTERS

London: British pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline said Wednesday it had terminated the employment of Moncef Slaoui, the former US COVID vaccine chief, following allegations of sexual harassment.

Slaoui's role as chair of the board of directors at GSK-owned Galvani Bioelectronics has been terminated with immedi-ate effect, a statement said.

"Dr Slaoui's behaviours are wholly unacceptable," GSK said.

"They represent an abuse of his leadership position, violate company policies, and are contrary to the strong values that define GSK's culture."

The firm said it expects everyone to behave in accordance with its values, "especially its leaders where its standards are the highest."

GSK added that "sexual harassment and any abuse of leadership position are strictly prohibited and will not be tolerat-ed".

His sacking follows the receipt of a letter containing allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct to-wards a GSK employee several years ago when Slaoui was an employee of the British group.

GSK said that upon receipt of the letter its board immediately hired an experienced law firm to investigate the allega-tions.

Slaoui had also been the chief advisor to Operation Warp Speed, the US public-private effort to develop COVID vac-cines, during the presidency of Donald Trump.