At L’Oréal she held a variety of marketing and general management roles in the UK, Europe and US. From 2007 she was based in Shanghai as general manager, consumer products for L’Oréal China.
Last year GSK awarded its £1.1bn global media account to incumbent agencies PHD, which handles the US business, and MediaCom, which buys its European media.
Philip Hampton, GSK’s chairman, said: "I am very pleased to announce Emma’s appointment, after what has been a very thorough and rigorous global selection process carried out by the GSK board of directors.
"Emma is an outstanding leader with highly valuable experience of building and running major global businesses and a strong track record of delivering growth and driving performance in healthcare."