Smith & Nephew CEO to stay, not making move to Sanofi

Olivier Bohuon

Rumors have been circulating in recent weeks that the French CEO of Smith & Nephew ($SN), Olivier Bohuon, would jump ship to run Paris-based Sanofi ($SNY). The biopharma is in the midst of a search to replace Chris Viehbacher, who previously held that top spot at Sanofi, but was ousted last month.

But Bohuon told employees at a town hall meeting that he is "very happy" at Smith & Nephew, and several people with knowledge of the matter said he isn't planning to leave, according to a Bloomberg story.

He has headed up S&N since April 2011 and during his tenure its shares are up about 60%. Bohuon has steered the company through acquisitions including the $1.7 billion purchase of sports-focused orthopedics company ArthroCare. Prior to this position, he led French pharmaceutical company Pierre Fabre and held leadership positions at Abbott Laboratories ($ABT).

Sanofi has hired recruitment firm Russell Reynolds Associates to find a replacement for Viehbacher. The company is reportedly looking for an executive with a strong pharma background and good familiarity with the U.S. market.

Stryker ($SYK) is reportedly considering another run at buying S&N, after the expiration of a 6-month waiting period under U.K. law following earlier acquisition talks. It would be difficult for Bohuon to depart in the midst of a potential takeover.

- here is the Bloomberg article

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