Sanofi shakes up leadership as specialty care head Bill Sibold departs to pursue outside opportunity

For six years, Sanofi's specialty care chief Bill Sibold has helped the company make the most of its Regeneron-partnered immunology superstar Dupixent.

Now, he’s hitting the exit in favor of an external opportunity.

Sibold is departing Sanofi after 12 years at the company, effective immediately. The company's current head of specialty care in North America, Brian Foard, is assuming the post as Sanofi searches for a permanent successor.

Specialty care has been a crucial division for Sanofi under CEO Paul Hudson. For his part, Sibold took the unit's helm from David Meeker in 2017 after heading Sanofi's multiple sclerosis, oncology and immunology division.

The timing was fortuitous for Sibold's rise at Sanofi. He took over the division a month after Dupixent's first approval and since then has helped turn the drug into Sanofi's primary growth driver.

Prior to Sanofi, Sibold briefly served as chief commercial officer of Avanir Pharmaceuticals, which was later bought by Otsuka. He also held several positions at Biogen and started his career Eli Lilly.

With Sibold's departure, Foard will likely be tasked with managing Dupixent's potential expansion in chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). An approval in COPD could open a new, massive market and potentially allow the drug to reach $20 billion in peak sales, Evercore ISI analysts have estimated.

Meanwhile, in addition to the specialty care shake-up, Sanofi appointed several new executive members and added a new position to its exec ranks.

Houman Ashrafian will take over Sanofi’s R&D group on September 11 after former global R&D head, John Reed, M.D., Ph.D., left in February to lead Johnson & Johnson’s executive vice president of pharmaceutical R&D. Ashrafian was previously at SV Health Investors and has a “robust track record” of building successful companies in the healthcare space, Sanofi said in a statement.

CEO Paul Hudson is “extremely pleased” to appoint Ashrafian, he said in a statement.

“With Houman’s leadership and deep understanding of science, we aspire to make our R&D transformation sustainable,” Hudson added.

Meanwhile, Emmanuel Frenehard is the company’s new chief digital officer, effective immediately. The role was created at Sanofi in 2019 amid a trend of pharma giants focusing more on their digital efforts.

Frenehard joined Sanofi three years ago as Global Head of Digital and has held several similar roles since then.

Lastly, the company created a new role for Madeline Roach as its head of business operations. She joined Sanofi last year as head of internal audit and risk management.