Glaxo accused of turning blind eye to racism

British drug maker Glaxosmithkline was last night accused of turning ‘a blind eye to racism’ in a row over a party held for a board member.

Urs Rohner, chairman of Credit Suisse, who has been a non-executive director at Glaxo since 2015, faces questions over his 60th birthday party last November, which featured a black performer dressed as a janitor dancing on stage.

It is said Credit Suisse’s then-boss Tidjane Thiam, the only black guest, walked out in disgust. Glaxo now faces calls to investigate Rohner’s role.

Credit Suisse’s then-boss Tidjane Thiam, left, walked out of  chairman Urs Rohner's, right, 60th birthday party after a black performer dressed as a janitor to dance on stage

Credit Suisse’s then-boss Tidjane Thiam, left, walked out of  chairman Urs Rohner's, right, 60th birthday party after a black performer dressed as a janitor to dance on stage

Credit Suisse’s then-boss Tidjane Thiam, left, walked out of  chairman Urs Rohner’s, right, 60th birthday party after a black performer dressed as a janitor to dance on stage

Rushanara Ali, a Labour MP on the Treasury select committee, said: ‘His actions reflect appallingly on the organisations he represents.

‘The fact that he continues to hold positions in these institutions demonstrates their willingness to turn a blind eye to racism.’

Emma Walmsley, Glaxo’s boss, is also understood to have walked out with Thiam. 

They are said to have returned later, to find Rohner’s friends performing a musical number while wearing afro wigs.

Credit Suisse apologised on Tuesday. Neither the bank nor Rohner are said to have been involved in organising the event. 

Glaxo declined to comment last night.

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