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Sanofi's Christopher Viehbacher to take the reins at EFPIA

Will serve as European pharma body's president from next June

Sanofi Chris ViehbacherEFPIA has selected Sanofi's CEO Christopher Viehbacher as its new president elect.

He will take over the leadership of the European pharma trade body from GlaxoSmithKline's Andrew Witty in June 2013, when he will serve a two-year term.

EFPIA said Viehbacher's designation as president elect comes at a “key moment” for the pharmaceutical industry in Europe as European institutions focus on a growth agenda.

EFPIA's director general Richard Bergström said: “Chris Viehbacher is well placed to take over the leadership of EFPIA. At this time, it is important to remind ourselves and others what is needed to sustain research based pharmaceuticals in Europe.

“Chris was involved in the high-level group G10 Medicines and has shown his ability to engage with policy-makers world-wide. I look forward to working with him.”

Commenting on his designation Viehbacher said: “I'm extremely honoured by this designation that comes in the midst of a crisis period when high value-added industry such as healthcare sector is what European countries need.

“There's a virtuous economic cycle of investing in education and then research and innovation. The challenge Europe is currently facing is about managing to reduce government deficits and debt without smothering the opportunity for growth; to make sure that relevant pro-growth, pro-innovation strategies can be activated”

In addition to serving as CEO of Sanofi since 2008, Viehbacher is also chairman of Genzyme, which Sanofi acquired in 2011, and has held the chair at US pharma body PhRMA between December 2010 and April 2012. 

He started his career in finance at PriceWaterhouseCoopers before joining GlaxoSmithKline in 1988, rising to president of Pharmaceutical Operations North America before joining Sanofi.

7th November 2012

From: Research, Sales, Marketing

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