Sanofi recruits veteran French auto executive to replace outgoing CFO Contamine

Sanofi Pasteur HQ
After Jérôme Contamine announced his retirement in April, Sanofi named its next CFO on Tuesday. (Sanofi/Vincent Moncorgé)

After a two-month search, Sanofi has its replacement for longtime CFO Jérôme Contamine, who is retiring at the end of September. 

The drugmaker is bringing on Jean-Baptiste Chasseloup de Chatillon, formerly the CFO of French automaker PSA Group, for the role. During his career at PSA, Chasseloup de Chatillon served in varying management positions in Spain, the U.K. and Belgium, Sanofi said.  

Chasseloup de Chatillon was part of the turnaround of the financially struggling auto company, which makes such brands as Peugeot, Citroën and Opel. That was accomplished, according to a BCG report, in part by selling 14% of PSA to a Chinese company and then simplifying manufacturing by significantly cutting the number of car models produced by PSA; to 26 by 2022, down from 45. 

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The new CEO will join the French drugmaker on Sept. 1 and start as CFO on Oct.1, working with Contamine during the month of September to get up to speed. Contamine will retire on Sept. 30. 

Jean-Baptiste
Chasseloup de Chatillon

Chasseloup de Chatillon joins Sanofi as the company continues to face competitive pressure in diabetes and as it works to respond. Last year, the drugmaker reported a U.S. diabetes sales decline of 22.8% due to CVS Health and UnitedHealthcare formulary exclusions for Lantus and Toujeo. 

Well aware of its issues in diabetes, the drugmaker has been looking elsewhere for growth. It is already launching two new immunology drugs, Kevzara and Dupixent, and early this year inked two deals to expand its pipeline and rare disease presence. The company bought hemophilia-focused Bioverativ for $11.6 billion in January and followed that up days later with a $4.6 billion deal for nanobody biotech Ablynx.  

RELATED: Sanofi scouts replacement for CFO Jérôme Contamine, who's retiring after an eventful 9 years 

During more than nine years at Sanofi, Contamine served under former CEO Chris Viehbacher and current CEO Olivier Brandicourt, helping both usher in their respective changes. After becoming CEO, Brandicourt reorganized the company into five global business units and has worked to refocus the drugmaker. Since splitting out the five units, Brandicourt offloaded animal health group Merial to Boehringer Ingelheim in exchange for BI's consumer health organization.

In a statement, Brandicourt thanked Contamine for his service and said he has been a "highly committed and trusted business partner to me and to my executive team.”  

Sanofi isn't the only top drugmaker losing a CFO to retirement. Johnson & Johnson's Dominic Caruso, the company's longest-serving chief financial officer, decided he will retire in September. GlaxoSmithKline's Simon Dingemans is also retiring next year.