Total Compensation: $9.627 million
Professional Profile: Christopher Viehbacher, 53, jumped ship at GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) in 2008 to join Sanofi ($SNY) as CEO. He's a certified public accountant who began his career at Pricewaterhouse Coopers in the audit division. From 1988 to 2008, he worked at Glaxo, moving up the ranks to president of North American pharma operations.
Compensation Breakdown: Viehbacher's base salary for 2012 was €1.25 million, with variable compensation of €2.268 million. In-kind benefits amounted to €4,051. As for stock, he earned €2.02 million worth of options and received a performance-share award worth €1.94 million. We converted his total compensation in euros, €7,481,151, to dollars at a $1.28689 rate.
Company Performance: On the plus side, Sanofi made gains in the areas Viehbacher designates as growth platforms, including emerging markets and diabetes. Lantus, its diabetes blockbuster, continues to go gangbusters, and now that the FDA has delayed new competition from Novo Nordisk ($NVO), looks set to continue for a few years yet. Consumer health grew by 10%, to more than €3 billion, and Genzyme--the biotech Sanofi bought in 2011--grew by 16.9% to €1.78 billion. All together, those growth areas account for 70% of the company's sales, up from 62% in 2011. Sanofi also won approval for a new cancer drug, Zaltrap, and filed for approval of a new rare disease drug, Kynamro, which won FDA's blessing in February 2013.
On the minus side, the company's total sales barely eked out an increase: At €35 billion, net sales were 0.5% higher year over year. And that's partly because of Plavix, the company's blockbuster blood thinner that went off patent last March; partly because of Avapro, the blood-pressure treatment that's now off patent; and partly because of Eloxatin, a cancer treatment that also faces generic competition. All that was no surprise, however; analysts pointed out that 2012 was expected to be Sanofi's "trough year." The company's cost-cutting program did meet with some surprises, however; layoff plans in French R&D operations drew fire from politicians and inspired big protests by the workers themselves. The company ended up scaling back the cuts in France but remains intent on restructuring R&D to be more efficient.
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