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Exclusive: Sanofi's strategy boss to leave as CEO readies revamp

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By Reuters
Exclusive: Sanofi's strategy boss to leave as CEO readies revamp
The logo of Sanofi is seen at the company's research and production centre in Vitry-sur-Seine, France, August 6, 2019. REUTERS/Charles Platiau   -   Copyright  CHARLES PLATIAU(Reuters)

By Matthias Blamont

PARIS (Reuters) – Sanofi’s <SASY.PA> most senior strategy boss is set to leave by the end of the month, according to a memo seen by Reuters, in the first major management change under new chief executive Paul Hudson as he shakes up the firm’s priorities.

Muzammil Mansuri, head of strategy and business development and member of the French drugmaker’s executive committee, will be retiring from the company, according to the note from Hudson sent to staff on Wednesday.

A spokesman for Sanofi confirmed the decision.

Hudson, who took over as CEO on Sept. 1, is leading a strategic review and is expected to unveil the company’s plan for the coming years at an investor day in Cambridge, Massachusetts, on December 10.

Mansuri had joined Sanofi in 2016 from Gilead Sciences <GILD.O> where he was in charge of research and development strategy and corporate development.

Hudson said in the memo that Alban de la Sabliere, currently head of business development, and Laurent Van Lerberghe, head of strategy, would take on more responsibilities as of Dec. 1 and report directly to him.

Even though the group’s new strategy is still in the works, Hudson has made no secret that significant changes were underway.

“I am bringing a little sense of urgency and prioritisation. I have set a tone already that we can move a little bit faster,” Hudson told reporters in October.

“I think we have the right level of resources although perhaps not always in the right place.”

Sources have told Reuters Sanofi was contemplating a joint venture or an outright sale among options for its consumer healthcare unit.

An initial public offering (IPO) of the business, which could be worth around $30 billion according to two sources familiar with the matter, is also potentially on the cards though they cautioned that no final decision had been made.

Analysts have argued a possible divestment or spin-off of Sanofi’s consumer healthcare arm, whose revenue grew by 3% at constant exchange rates last year to 4.7 billion euros ($5.20 billion), would enable the group to invest more in internal research.

The future of Sanofi’s ailing diabetes business – under constant pricing pressure in the United States, the world’s largest health market – is also under the spotlight.

($1 = 0.9042 euros)

(Editing by Christian Lowe and Elaine Hardcastle)