Sanofi's chief strategic officer jumps ship

Sanofi-Aventis (NYSE: SNY) is losing its chief strategic officer--and highest-ranking woman--at the end of next month. Senior Vice President Laurence Debroux is leaving the company "to pursue another professional challenge," Sanofi says; her successor will be named soon.

CEO Chris Viehbacher credited Debroux with aiding the company's recent fast-paced series of buyouts and other deals. "I would like to sincerely express my gratitude to Laurence for her contributions," Viehbacher says in a statement. "Laurence was able to combine leadership and passion in a key role that allowed Sanofi-Aventis to realize significant acquisitions over the last 18 months."

Debroux has been with Sanofi since 1996, when she joined as corporate treasurer. From 2000 to 2004 she led strategic planning for the company, then rose to deputy CFO, then CFO, and finally SVP and chief strategic officer.

This is just the latest in a string of executive changes in Big Pharma. This spring has been something of a game of musical chairs. Most recently, Merck overhauled its top management by naming a new president and new pharma chief. No word yet on just who might take Debroux's place.

- read the Sanofi release
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