PARIS (Reuters) – French pharma giant Sanofi has appointed Paul Hudson as chief executive to replace Olivier Brandicourt, who will retire in September, the company said on Friday.
Hudson, a top executive at Sanofi’s Swiss rival Novartis, will take his new job on Sept. 1, the French company said, confirming a Reuters report published on Thursday.
“Hudson has been chosen because of his reputation. He is known as a solid manager and has digital expertise relating to pharmaceuticals,” a Sanofi source said on Thursday.
Hudson, 51, has been CEO of the Novartis Pharmaceuticals unit since 2016 after holding positions at Schering Plough and AstraZeneca. He is a member of the Novartis executive committee.
Novartis named Marie-France Tschudin head of its main drugs business to replace Hudson.
Sanofi’s management started the search for a new boss months ago to replace 63-year-old Brandicourt.
Brandicourt was hired in 2015 to help to revive the fortunes of France’s biggest drugmaker and has been actively reshaping the business.
Under his tenure, the company swapped its animal health unit with Boehringer Ingelheim in exchange for the German company’s consumer healthcare operations in a $20 billion (£15.8 billion) deal. It has also sold its European generics arm for 1.9 billion euros (£1.7 billion) to private equity firm Advent International.
New launches such as eczema treatment Dupixent, cost-cutting measures and new priorities in research and development have also enabled Sanofi to return to profit in the second half of last year after a series of disappointing quarters.
Brandicourt’s teams, however, failed to land two strategic acquisitions, losing out on buying California-based cancer specialist Medivation to Pfizer in 2016 and failing to acquire Swiss biotech company Actelion, which was bought by Johnson & Johnson in 2017.
(Reporting by Matthias Blamont and John Miller; Editing by Inti Landauro and David Goodman)