Sanofi CEOs past and present are in line for big payouts after yesterday's annual meeting, as resolutions passed to line the pockets of ousted skipper Chris Viehbacher and new replacement Olivier Brandicourt. But shareholders aren't necessarily thrilled about it, and investor advisory groups aren't, either.
So far, Sanofi has come up empty-handed in its hunt for a CEO to replace the ousted Chris Viehbacher. And the mystery surrounding his firing may have something to do with it.
Sanofi may not have its next CEO figured out yet, but it's worked out what it's going to pay departed helmsman Chris Viehbacher. The former chief exec will take home €2.96 million in severance following his abrupt dismissal last fall, plus noncompete pay and 2014 incentive pay.
In October, the Sanofi board fired CEO Chris Viehbacher. Now, a whistleblower lawsuit claims that part of Viehbacher's undoing was tied to a massive kickback scheme directed through consultants that was used to juice sales of diabetes meds in the States.
Chris Viehbacher had planned to cut Sanofi's costs in France, in part by shuttering an R&D site in Toulouse. Now Sanofi plans to pay German company Evotec to take over the operations there.
One of the primary roles for any Big Pharma CEO is to act as a chief defender of the pipeline. Just months ago, Chris Viehbacher boldly asserted that Sanofi had one of the top 5 pipelines in the industry, if you added in some top programs among its close development partners.
If you haven't yet read enough about ex-Sanofi CEO Chris Viehbacher's departure, check out Bloomberg' s latest.
For the now-former chief of Sanofi, Chris Viehbacher, there's plenty of money for a cushion, but it won't be nearly as plump as the packages granted to his counterparts in the U.S.
Chris Viehbacher took the helm of Sanofi with one clear message about the future: R&D at the Big Pharma had to undergo a radical restructuring. The lost decade in drug development following 2000 proved that Sanofi and others had to mend their ways, he said, forcing the company to reach outside the organization for innovation and shed the dead wood that had accumulated in its research ops.
CEO Chris Viehbacher's future may not have been on the Sanofi board's agenda Monday. But it was on Wednesday. The directors issued a statement after an 8 a.m. meeting, the gist of which is this: At Sanofi, he has none.