Sanofi Fires CEO Over Secretive Management Style, Not Strategy

Oct 30, 2014

French drugmaker Sanofi fired its chief executive, Christopher Viehbacher, on Wednesday, but the chairman says the company will continue with its international strategy.

Serge Weinberg, the chairman, told reporters that the board members did not disagree with Mr. Viehbacher on strategy, but rather were unhappy with his execution and failure to communicate.

According to the WSJ, despite having general confidence in Viehbacher's turnaround strategy, the board felt the CEO displayed an uncommunicative management style. “On several points, the board had to ask for information that had never been presented during our meetings,” Weinberg told reporters during Wednesday's conference call.

Weinberg also told analysts that Sanofi was looking mostly outside the company for its next chief executive, aiming for someone with solid pharmaceutical industry experience. According to Bloomberg sources, Sanofi’s board reached out to AstraZeneca Chief Executive Officer Pascal Soriot to feel out his interest in replacing Viehbacher.