Sanofi's CEO search leads to Brandicourt

Chutes and Ladders

Welcome to this week's Chutes and Ladders, our roundup of hirings and retirings throughout the industry. Please send the good word--or the bad--from your shop to Michael Gibney (email | Twitter) or Amirah Al Idrus (email | Twitter), and we will feature it here at the end of each week.

Sanofi's CEO search leads to Brandicourt

Olivier Brandicourt was named CEO.

Throughout the week, rumors, and then reports, began to surface about Sanofi's ($SNY) new CEO, Olivier Brandicourt. The French drugmaker confirmed the speculation on Thursday with a brief news release announcing that it had snagged Brandicourt from the top pharma spot at Bayer Healthcare; the new helmsman will begin his Sanofi position on April 2. With a 28-year background and having worked in leadership positions at Bayer and Pfizer ($PFE), Sanofi Chairman Serge Weinberg said Brandicourt's "strong experience combined with his international profile, deep knowledge of U.S. and emerging healthcare markets, and his capability to unite teams will provide new dynamism to Sanofi's strategy of diversification and innovation." Brandicourt is a medical doctor and was educated in Paris, which one analyst called the "icing on the cake" for Sanofi. Brandicourt will replace Chris Viehbacher, who was ousted in October by the company's board. Story | Release

GSK U.S. chief Deirdre Connelly steps aside

Deirdre Connelly stepped down as U.S. chief.

GlaxoSmithKline ($GSK) announced that U.S. chief Deirdre Connelly is stepping down after 6 years at the company. Due to payer pressure for price breaks on Advair and new respiratory meds struggling to gain traction, the drugmaker has seen sputtering U.S. sales, leading disappointed investors to call for management changes. Some thought the changes might be at the very top, but other market watchers pegged Connelly as a potential sacrificial lamb. GSK CEO Andrew Witty recruited Connelly from Eli Lilly ($LLY) in 2009, having her report directly to him. However, Connelly fell down a notch in management during a reorganization last year and instead reported to global pharma head Abbas Hussain. SVP Jack Bailey will assume the U.S. head post effective immediately. Story

Cornelia Bargmann to be appointed AstraZeneca director

Cornelia Bargmann was named for a board seat.

Cornelia Bargmann, an outspoken professor and sometimes critic of the pharma industry, will be proposed to shareholders for election as an AstraZeneca ($AZN) nonexecutive director at the company's annual general meeting on April 24. John Varley and Nancy Rothwell both intend to retire from the company's board at the meeting, each having served for 9 years. Bargmann is a neurobiologist who studies the relationships between genes, neural circuits and behavior using C. elegans, a tiny roundworm, as the model for her work. "Cori will bring a wealth of experience in scientific research, fitting the needs of AstraZeneca's Board very well," AstraZeneca Chairman Leif Johansson said in a statement. Story | Release

Boehringer Ingelheim is trimming its Connecticut staff by about 5%. Story
Integra LifeSciences laid off 49 in Massachusetts to cut costs. Story


> McKesson ($MCK) appointed Bansi Nagji to be its executive vice president of corporate strategy and business development. Release

> Edward Field joined BioRestorative Therapies as president of its brtxDISC division. Release

> Regen BioPharma brought on Todd Caven as its new CFO. Release

> Armetheon hired John Glenn as its chief financial officer. Release

> Jim Vedder joined Mirixa as its senior vice president of finance and accounting. Release

> Lion Biotechnologies appointed Ryan Maynard as director and chair of its audit committee. Release

> Assembly Biosciences named Derek Small as its CEO and made some additional changes to its corporate structure. Release

> Kymab names Anne Hyland chief financial officer. Release

> ZS Pharma ($ZSPH) appoints Dr. Jose Menoyo as senior vice president of medical affairs, Stewart Turner as executive director of medical affairs and head of the Medical Science Liaisons team, and Megan Clifford as executive director of marketing. Release

> 3-V Biosciences names Rekha Hemrajani as chief financial officer. Release

> ImmunoCellular Therapeutics ($IMUC) appoints Steven Swanson as senior vice president of research. Release

> Robert Langer joins Nanobiotix as scientific adviser. Release

> Harvard Bioscience ($HBIO) appoints Ryan Atienza as vice president of sales at its Denville Scientific subsidiary. Release

> Thermo Fisher ($TMO) CFO and Senior Vice President Peter Wilver will retire on March 31, 2016. Stephen Williamson, currently vice president of financial operations, has been elected as his successor, effective Aug. 1, 2015. Release


> Catalyst Pharmaceuticals ($CPRX) adds Richard Daly and Donald Denkhaus to its board of directors. Release

> Cosmederm Bioscience names Steve Massah as chief operating officer. Release


> Fred Davenport, former PPD president, joins Clinipace's board of directors. Release


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