Sector News

CEO-hunting Sanofi tried to tempt AstraZeneca’s Soriot: Bloomberg

October 30, 2014
Life sciences
Bernstein analyst Tim Anderson figures Sanofi would do well to look outside the company for its new CEO, like AstraZeneca did with its new-ish chief, Pascal Soriot. Well, Sanofi had a more literal view: The French drugmaker has contacted Soriot himself.
 
Sanofi’s board sacked CEO Chris Viehbacher Wednesday, ending an 8-year tenure full of buyouts, job cuts, international expansion and R&D restructuring. Apparently, that tenure also included conflict with the board, at least in recent months. Chairman Serge Weinberg said the board wants to work more closely and cooperatively with a CEO; Weinberg has been casting about for a potential replacement since early September at least.
 
As Bloomberg reports, Sanofi’s board approached Soriot to see if he might be interested in the job. According to the news service’s sources, Soriot wasn’t.
 
Soriot joined AstraZeneca in 2012  from Roche, where he ran the Swiss drugmaker’s pharma division. He has his hands full at AstraZeneca, which has been struggling to replace revenue lost to generic competition, particularly for its antipsychotic drug Seroquel. Like Viehbacher, he has made a series of deals designed to restock the company’s pipeline and rolled out a restructuring with thousands of job cuts. Unlike Viehbacher, Soriot had to contend with a hostile bid from Pfizer, which gave up its takeover quest in May–at least temporarily.
 
That Sanofi would reach out to Soriot might soothe investors and analysts worried that Sanofi will return to its insular, France-centric ways. But then again, Soriot is French–and as Bloomberg points out, he worked at Aventis before his career at Roche. Sanofi’s previous moniker was Sanofi-Aventis, of course, which means Soriot has been in the family.
 
Another potential CEO, according to Bloomberg’s sources, is Smith & Nephew chief Olivier Bohuon, who’s also French, with stints at the France-based drugmaker Pierre Fabre, as well as U.S.-based Abbott Laboratories and U.K. drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline. Then there’s Roch Doliveux, who’s leaving the Belgian drugmaker UCB as of Jan. 1, the news service’s sources said.
 
By Tracy Staton
 

comments closed

Related News

September 25, 2022

Rise of the machines: Novo Nordisk pledges $200M to create first quantum computer for life sciences

Life sciences

Big Pharma has long seen the potential for AI and machine learning to accelerate drug development. But Novo Nordisk is going a step further by channeling $200 million toward the creation of a computer that will outrun anything in existence.

September 25, 2022

Mount Sinai AI uncovers new brain analysis method to predict dementia, Alzheimer’s disease

Life sciences

Current methods for diagnosing Alzheimer’s disease rely on a complex combination of self- and caregiver-reported symptoms, a physical examination and either a PET scan or a spinal tap to look for evidence of amyloid plaque build-ups in the brain. But a new artificial intelligence-based method may make the diagnostic process a much more objective one.

September 25, 2022

New AstraZeneca-backed report finds big money behind diverse owners and entrepreneurs in Europe

Life sciences

There is lots of talk about diversity and inclusion in business, including in pharma and medtech. A new report by the Open Political Economy Network (OPEN), a think tank focusing on migration and diversity, released its “Minority Businesses Matter: Europe” report highlighting the successes and challenges of ethnic minority-owned businesses in Europe.