Sanofi debuts diversity board

April 5, 2022

Sanofi is launching its Diversity, Equity & Inclusion Board, becoming the first in the pharmaceutical industry to include board members from outside the company, Sanofi announced.

Sanofi revamped its DE&I goals in June 2021. The company has three main goals: to build representative leadership, create a work environment where employees “can bring their whole selves,” and to engage with the company’s diverse communities. The board will monitor the company’s progress and advise Sanofi on how to amplify its impacts.

The DE&I board will include 11 members, seven of which come from Sanofi’s current leadership, and represents a step forward in advancing representation in the pharmaceutical industry.

Three big names in DE&I will sit on the board; best-selling author and organizational psychologist John Amaechi; activist and founder of award-winning social organization, The Valuable 500, Caroline Casey; and DE&I pioneer Dr. Rohini Anand. 

Amaechi is a Chartered Scientist elected fellow of the Royal Society for Public Health and a research fellow at the University of East London. Amaechi, who was born in Boston but raised in a suburb of Stockport, England, also played basketball in the NBA. Casey, a businesswoman and activist, founded The Valuable 500, the largest CEO collective and business move for disability inclusion. In April 2021, she was appointed the president of the International Agency for the Prevention of Blindness. Anand previously worked as the senior vice-president of corporate responsibility and global chief diversity officer for Sodexo, a food services and facilities management company.

Sanofi is also launching a global Employee Resource Group (ERG) and five globally-focused ERGS, it said. The company already has local ERGs, which are employee-led resource groups to help foster more diversity in the workplace. The new ERGs will focus on gender, LGBTQIA+ representation, and cultural differences.

The drugmaker is aiming to advance its DE&I objectives toward 2024. The DE&I board will meet three times per year to check on the progress and quarterly updates will be sent out, according to Sanofi. 

Recent studies show that approximately 1/3 of the top 50 pharma companies have no women on their board and only 8% of board seats are held by ethnically diverse directors, compared with 14% of the Fortune 500 overall, according to Buchanan Ingersoll and Rooney.