With Viehbacher gone, who will be the next Sanofi chief?
- Sanofi's board of directors fired CEO Christopher A. Viehbacher for ineffective leadership and the company's declining financial performance on Tuesday evening.
- The board has announced that it is looking for a new CEO, and that it is primarily considering external candidates.
- There is a rumor that Sanofi has reached out to AstraZeneca's Pascal Soriot, who has allegedly refused the offer.
Investors are not thrilled with the sudden sacking of Viehbacher, but right now, the most pressing goal is to get a new leader in place. While he had some notable problems, including lack of communication with the board, Viehbacher also helped diversify Sanofi and cut costs at a critical juncture in the firms's history back in 2008.
However, he neglected to neglected to inform the board about his plan to sell Sanofi's portfolio of mature drugs for $8 billion last year. And he ruffled some feathers with his push to focus the French pharma giant's resources in Boston.
Now, the board will be on the lookout for a good communicator, with solid leadership credentials, to replace Viehbacher. Some names that have been bounced around include former Wyeth CEO Bernard Poussot and Roch Doliveux, who will step down as CEO of UCB SA at the beginning of 2015.