Sanofi Board Votes to Remove CEO Christopher A. Viehbacher

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The board of directors at Sanofi unanimously agree to remove Sanofi's CEO.

Christopher A. Viehbacher resigned as director of Sanofi immediately after its Board of Directors unanimously agreed to remove him as the company’s CEO on Oct. 29, 2014. Chairman Serge Weinberg will replace Viehbacher on an interim basis.

Weinberg toldFinancial Times in an interview that the 15-member board at Sanofi was generally dissatisfied with Viehbacher’s performance at the company and there were “some worries about management style, about execution, focus, and also about the nature of the relationship with the board.” According to this interview, the board had been contemplating the decision to oust Viehbacher since last summer, although Sanofi initially said in a meeting to review quarterly results earlier this week that replacing the CEO was not on the meeting’s agenda. In addition to dissatisfaction, inventory mismanagement in Brazil was also reportedly a key factor in the board’s decision.

The announcement comes just one day after Reutersreported Sanofi would face increased pricing pressure on its diabetes portfolio. Diabetes medications, one of Sanofi’s key growth areas, face increased pricing and rebate pressure now that many health insurance formularies are eliminating similar products in competing classes. Sanofi's drug Lantus, which accounts for a third of operating profit according to Reuters, is slated to lose patent protection in early 2015.


“Going forward, the Group needs to pursue its development with a management aligning the teams, harnessing talents and focusing on execution with a close and confident cooperation with the Board,” Weinberg said in a company statement.