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Hudson named Brandicourt’s successor as Sanofi’s CEO

Sanofi shaking off patent expiries

sanofi

Sanofi said today that chief executive Olivier Brandicourt will retire from the company as of 1 September to be replaced by Paul Hudson, currently head of Novartis’ pharma division.

Brandicourt – who came in as CEO in February 2015 – had already been expected to step down next year before he reached the age of 65 in February 2021, in line with the French group’s corporate regulations that include a top age limit for the top job.

51-year-old Hudson is a “seasoned leader with a strong international experience, particularly in the US, Japan and Europe,” said Sanofi in its statement to announce the succession this morning.

Shares in the company opened up almost 4% as the news hit trading floors as investors were cheered by news of an orderly handover and the appointment of a pharma veteran with 28 years’ experience at big pharma companies including Schering-Plough, AstraZeneca and Novartis.

Paul Hudson

Paul Hudson

Hudson joined Novartis from AZ, where he was head of the company’s US pharma division, just three years ago.

"We are very pleased that Paul Hudson has agreed to join Sanofi.” said the company’s chairman Serge Weinberg.

“His skills and experience give him all the assets he needs to accelerate growth and lead the group's adaptation to new strategic challenges, particularly in the areas of Research and Development and digital.

Olivier Brandicourt

Olivier Brandicourt

Brandicourt presided over a restricting of Sanofi’s business, masterminding the exchange of its animal health business with Boehringer Ingelheim’s consumer health unit in a $25bn asset swap deal and selling off its European generics business to private equity group Advent for $2.4bn, whilst implementing a big cost-reduction programme.

He also bolstered the company’s pipeline with acquisitions of Ablynx and Bioverativ for €3.9bn and $11.6bn, respectively, building a franchise in rare blood diseases, but missed out to rivals when trying to bolt on Medivation (which went to Pfizer) and Actelion (bought by Johnson & Johnson).

Hudson takes over after Sanofi has only just started to emerge from a long and difficult period marked by patent losses for big brands, particularly in its diabetes franchise, and before some trumpeted new launches like cholesterol drug Praluent (alirocumab) and arthritis drug Kevzara (sarilumab) have delivered on their potential.

He will be looking for a good performance from products like latecomer checkpoint inhibitor Libtayo (cemiplimab) – approved for cutaneous squamous cell carcinoma (CSCC) in the US last September – as well as atopic dermatitis and asthma therapy Dupixent (dupilumab) and Ablynx’ rare blood disorder product Cablivi (caplacizumab).

Article by
Phil Taylor

7th June 2019

From: Marketing

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