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Is a new CEO in the cards at Sanofi as succession planning heats up for top team?

The buzz is growing about a potential near-term changeup at the top at Sanofi. 

Reuters is reporting that talks about “the future of the group’s management” has been heating up recently, leading to internal discussions about the succession planning for Olivier Brandicourt, just 4 years after he took the helm. 

The company itself marked this down as somewhat routine for any multinational like Sanofi.

“It is the responsibility of any company’s board of directors to consider and plan for the succession of its CEO and executive committee members by identifying the next set of future leaders,” a spokesperson for Sanofi tells me. “With this perspective, the board has been considering this succession plan for some time now, in agreement and consultation with our CEO.”

Brandicourt is required by company rules to step aside at 65, slightly less than 2 years away.

This kind of hubbub is not unusual in big pharma. Recently it was Pascal Soriot who was in the spotlight, with the company reportedly making plans on who would succeed him when he stepped down. That followed an intense round of speculation that Teva had once tried to recruit Soriot as its next CEO.

Sanofi is also known for some turbulence at the top. Chris Viehbacher was fired by the board, which is run by Chairman Serge Weinberg, in late 2014 after he moved back to the states from the Paris headquarters.

Over the last few years Brandicourt’s team hit and missed on a slate of potential buyouts, then scored with their deals for Bioverativ and Ablynx. John Reed was also recently wooed in from Roche to take the reins at R&D, as Elias Zerhouni retired from the company.


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Research Scientist - Immunology
Recursion Pharmaceuticals Salt Lake City, UT
Director of Operations
Atlas Venture Cambridge, MA

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