Robert Ingram, a former pharmaceutical executive who steered North Carolina’s life science industry, died late last week in Durham at the age of 80.
Ingram, who went by Bob, led the British firm GlaxoWellcome through its merger to become GlaxoSmithKline. He joined Glaxo in 1990 and rose to head its U.S. operations, which were based in Research Triangle Park. In 1997, Ingram was promoted to Glaxo CEO and was permitted to run the global company from the Triangle.
The News & Observer called Ingram’s promotion — and his ability to remain local — a sign “that the region is being recognized as one of the world’s most important pharmaceutical centers.”
In 2000, Ingram helped lead the Glaxo merger with SmithKline Beecham. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) maintains an RTP campus today.
Ingram retired from the company two years later and would go on to help fund early-stage life science companies as a general partner at the Durham fund Hatteras Venture Partners.
“He was a great leader and mentor to so many people on our Board,” said Research Triangle Foundation spokesperson Jan Mactal in an email Wednesday.
In 2014, Ingram received the North Carolina Award, the highest civilian honor bestowed by the state.
Cancer awareness and Porsche collection
Ingram was an advocate for cancer awareness, forming the CEO Roundtable on Cancer in 2001 at the behest of former President George H.W. Bush. A few years later, President George W. Bush appointed Ingram to serve on the National Institutes of Health Cancer Advisory Board.
Born in 1942, Ingram grew up in central Illinois and graduated from Eastern Illinois University. He died on March 24, and his family says a private ceremony will be held near the Western North Carolina town of Highlands.
Outside his work in life sciences and cancer awareness, Ingram was known for his extensive Porsche collection.
“The Ingram Collection of Porches is considered one of the best in the country,” wrote the Porsche Southpoint dealership in Durham. As of 2021, he had 80 models, despite a few being damaged in a 2019 fatal gas explosion in downtown Durham.
“I first became enamored with Porsche in 1971,” Ingram told Porsche Southpoint. In recent years, he and his family would use the cars as a backdrop for charity events.
This story was produced with financial support from a coalition of partners led by Innovate Raleigh as part of an independent journalism fellowship program. The N&O maintains full editorial control of the work.
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