Sanofi names CEO, cites 'capabililty to unite teams'

Thu Feb 19, 2015 5:58pm EST
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By Andrew Callus

PARIS (Reuters) - French drugmaker Sanofi (SASY.PA: Quote) on Thursday named Olivier Brandicourt, a Paris-educated doctor and head of Bayer AG's (BAYGn.DE: Quote) healthcare arm, as its chief executive officer.

Brandicourt had been widely tipped to become Sanofi's new boss, a position that opened when Chris Viehbacher was suddenly sacked last year.

The 59-year-old Frenchman, who researched tropical and infectious diseases before joining the corporate pharmaceutical world, will take over as CEO on April 2, Sanofi said.

"Olivier Brandicourt's strong experience combined with his international profile, deep knowledge of U.S. and emerging healthcare markets, and his capability to unite teams will provide new dynamism to Sanofi's strategy of diversification and innovation," Sanofi Chairman Serge Weinberg said in a statement.

Weinberg, caretaker CEO since Viehbacher's ouster, told shocked investors in October by saying that Viehbacher had been a poor communicator with the board and must take responsibility for faltering U.S. sales of key diabetes drug Lantus.

Weinberg said two weeks ago that a successor would be named by the end of March.

Sanofi is France's biggest listed company, employing 27,500 people in France, making up a third of the country's pharmaceuticals jobs and a quarter of the company's own worldwide workforce.

One of Viehbacher's mistakes was to develop a politically explosive plan to cut French jobs without telling the board.   Continued...

French drugs firm Sanofi's logo is pictured inside the company's headquarters during the company's 2014 annual results presentation in Paris February 5, 2015.  REUTERS/Charles Platiau