8/13/2012 7:12:17 AM
Among the major French companies that have triggered protests at home this summer by announcing job cuts, Sanofi (SNY) stands out for its audacity. France’s biggest drugmaker plans to slash its research and development staff in? Toulouse and Montpellier and is shifting its focus across the Atlantic to Cambridge, Mass. Since becoming the company’s chief executive officer in 2008, Canadian-born Chris Viehbacher has irked Sanofi veterans by ending projects that have been deemed unpromising, axing jobs, and embracing acquisitions and partnerships. The changes accelerated last year, after the company bought Cambridge-based Genzyme, the world’s largest maker of treatments for rare genetic diseases, for $20.1 billion in a hostile takeover.
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