(Reuters) – France’s high tax burden makes it hard to recruit top executives, Sanofi Chairman Serge Weinberg said on Thursday, as the drugmaker continues to hunt for a new boss.
Weinberg was instrumental in the October ousting of Chris Viehbacher as CEO and has since been filling the role himself on a temporary basis.
“The deterioration of French tax-competitiveness and the burden on companies and individuals pose a problem,” Weinberg told reporters in Paris.
“It’s extremely difficult to attract international executives or even bring back French ones who have left. There will be consequences if this continues, because we can’t rely on patriotic sentiment or goodwill alone.”
Weinberg would not respond to rumours that the job had been turned down by Smith & Nephew’s French boss Olivier Bohuon, seen as a favourite to replace Viehbacher.
“We have no comment on the subject,” Weinberg said, adding that he had merely been speaking “in general” about recruitment challenges. By Noelle Mennella (Writing by Laurence Frost; Editing by David Goodman)