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New chairman for PhRMA

S-A CEO Christopher Viehbacher has become chairman of the board of directors of Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America

Sanofi-aventis (S-A) CEO Christopher Viehbacher has become chairman of the board of directors of the trade group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA) following the resignation of Jeffrey B Kindler, who has also given up his post as CEO of Pfizer.

The 50-year-old Viehbacher has been S-A's CEO, as well as a board member and member of the company's strategy committee for about two years. Earlier, he served as president, US Pharmaceuticals at GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a position he took in January 2003 after two years of serving as GSK's president, Pharmaceuticals Europe. He joined GSK when it was Wellcome GmbH in Germany in 1988 as chief financial accountant and was promoted to finance director and then to president and CEO of Burroughs Wellcome, Canada.

The trilingual executive, who has German and Canadian nationality, now lives in Raleigh, North Carolina. He has served as a board member of PhRMA and is vice chairman of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer, a non-profit corporation comprised of chief executives from more than 30 major American companies from a number of industries.

Viehbacher said in a statement that one of his areas of focus during his tenure at the top of PhRMA would be the industry's role in dealing with chronic diseases, an area of policy that he has already been involved with as the leader of S-A. "Given the increased prevalence and costs of chronic disease, our industry needs to work with other healthcare stakeholders to encourage the prevention and better management," he said.

Kindler exited the top spot at Pfizer earlier this week, saying that the job had worn him out and he wanted to spend more time with his loved ones. Reports have since surfaced in the media that he resigned hours before Pfizer's board of directors had planned to ask him to step down after difficulties at the company.

8th December 2010

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