Not long ago, Viehbacher had a chance to sit down with Ernesto Bertarelli--who made a fortune on the sale of Serono--to pursue a conversation that many people fantasize about but very, very few experience. The subject: "If I had $2 billion to invest, this is how you do it."
As CEO of Sanofi, Chris Viehbacher was always an outspoken champion of the innovation that could be found in biotech, even as it remained an elusive goal inside the Big Pharma. He backed up that belief with major partnerships with the likes of Regeneron and Alnylam. And now, 8 months after getting booted out of Sanofi by an angry board, he's getting back in the hunt for the best of biotech and the life sciences industry as the head of a $2 billion healthcare investment fund set up by Swiss billionaire Ernesto Bertarelli.
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.