Interim CEO Says Sanofi Continuing Diversification, Eyeing Acquisitions

Published: Dec 10, 2014

Sanofi To Continue Diversification, Eyes Acquisitions: Interim CEO Says
December 10, 2014
By Krystle Vermes, Breaking News Staff

France-based drugmaker Sanofi is looking to diversify beyond drug development, according to Reuters, and it may do so through acquisitions. This news comes from Sanofi’s interim Chief Executive Serge Weinberg, who was interviewed by the Handelsblatt.

"We want to have businesses like consumer healthcare, veterinary medicine and vaccines that are less strongly driven by innovation but grow continuously and are more stable," Weinberg said in the interview with the German publication.

Weinberg went onto say that the company would be prepared and able to make acquisitions in those areas if the right opportunity presented itself. However, he stressed that Sanofi is not interested in purchasing Bayer’s diabetes device business.

In terms of filling the CEO position at Sanofi, Weinberg said that the company does not want to rush the process. That being said, he stated that it should “not take another half year” to announce a new CEO.

The Removal of Viehbacher
On Oct. 29, Sanofi’s board of directors issued a statement that confirmed its decision to remove Chris Viehbacher from the chief executive officer position. This news came after Viehbacher was rumored to have been contemplating the selling of older drugs, according to the Wall Street Journal.

“The board of directors thanks Christopher A. Viehbacher for all the work done during the last six years, which has enabled the group to move through a sensitive and important transition phase,” the directors said in a statement. “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. The board confirms its commitment to continuing the strategy and the international expansion of the

group based on research and innovation and its growth platforms.”

The Sanofi board of directors agreed unanimously to remove Viehbacher from the position. It was then that Weinberg was named as the temporary chairman and chief executive officer until a replacement could be found.

John Archer, founding partner of Catalyst Advisors, told the Wall Street Journal that the company is going to have a “very difficult time finding anybody from the outside” to fill the role of CEO. He said he believes that the replacement will need to be someone who understands the French structure, in addition to the organizational structure.

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