Mar 24, 2021 - Health

Ex-Operation Warp Speed chief fired from private firm over sexual harassment allegation

Moncef Slaoui and Trump

Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty Images

Moncef Slaoui, the former chief science adviser to Operation Warp Speed under the Trump administration, was fired as chairman of the board of directors of Galvani Bioelectronics after allegations of sexual harassment stemming from his time at GlaxoSmithKline.

Why it matters: Operation Warp Speed was established to accelerate and fund the development, manufacturing and distribution of multiple coronavirus vaccines, including Johnson & Johnson and Moderna, which have both been authorized by the FDA.

What they're saying: "The termination follows the receipt of a letter containing allegations of sexual harassment and inappropriate conduct towards an employee of GSK by Dr. Slaoui, which occurred several years ago when he was an employee of GSK," GlaxoSmithKline, the majority shareholder of Galvani, said in a statement.

  • "Upon receipt of the letter, the GSK Board immediately initiated an investigation with an experienced law firm to investigate the allegations. The investigation of Dr. Slaoui’s conduct substantiated the allegations and is ongoing."
  • "Dr. Slaoui’s behaviours 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."

Background: Slaoui spent 30 years at GSK, where he oversaw the development of numerous vaccines.

  • In an interview with "Axios on HBO," Anthony Fauci said that the Trump administration's "recruitment of Dr. Moncef Slaoui was an incredibly important step forward that the administration deserves credit for, because that did motivate a lot of actions, a lot of coordination."
  • Slaoui resigned from Operation Warp Speed in January at the request of the incoming Biden administration.
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