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Sanofi's CEO search ends as Bayer's Brandicourt takes the job

He will begin leading the French pharma company on April 2

Bayer Olivier Brandicourt

Four months after sacking its previous chief executive Sanofi has finally settled on a replacement, and confirmed Olivier Brandicourt (pictured) will take up the role at the beginning of April.  

The appointment of Brandicourt, currently chairman of the board of management of Bayer HealthCare, ends a period of uncertainty at Sanofi that saw chairman Serge Weinberg serving as acting CEO.  

Commenting on Brandicourt's appointment Weinberg said: "Sanofi undertook a rigorous selection process to identify the right person to lead Sanofi forward at an important time for our company.  

“Olivier Brandicourt's strong experience combined with his international profile, deep knowledge of US and emerging healthcare markets, and his capability to unite teams will provide new dynamism to Sanofi's strategy of diversification and innovation."  

Brandicourt, a physician by training, has 28 years of global pharma experience, and prior to his time at Bayer he served at Parke-Davis/Warner-Lambert and Pfizer - sitting on Pfizer's global executive leadership team from 2010 to 2013.   

But also of note is Brandicourt's French nationality, which could help avoid some of the culture clashes said to have blighted former CEO Chris Viehbacher's tenure at Sanofi.  

As Viehbacher's replacement Brandicourt faces a number of challenges, including the impending loss of patent protection for Sanofi big-selling diabetes therapy Lantus (insulin glargine).  

The company also has a number of key product launches coming up, with five more products expected to reach the market following this month's US debut of its inhaled insulin Afrezza.  

The biggest of these products could well be alirocumab, one of the leaders in the new PCSK9 class of cholesterol-lowering drugs that have been tipped to make multibillion dollars a year in sales.   

In addition to overseeing its product portfolio Brandicourt will also have the task of driving through Sanofi's ongoing restructuring drive, which recently took in a retreat from oncology R&D after late-stage product failures.

Article by
Dominic Tyer

19th February 2015

From: Research, Sales

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