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Sanofi executives take control of new boardroom

Published on 24/06/04 at 06:52pm

The soon to be created Sanofi-Aventis will be dominated by executives from Sanofi-Synthelabo who have pledged to deliver "swift integration" and  "a united management team".

The E55.3 billion takeover still requires Aventis shareholders to take up Sanofi's offering by 30 June but the company's chief executive Jean-Francois Dehecq has already picked the top executives to take the new company forward.

Addressing shareholders at Sanofi's AGM Mr Dehecq said the merger was an "ambitious project" allowing the companies to "combine their strengths, talents and heritage".

Conscious of the bold new predictions for growth he promised in pursuing the merger, he concluded: "This project is based on a strategy of strong, sustainable and profitable growth. It should be earnings-accretive from year one after eliminating the accounting adjustments associated with the deal. It should create value for all shareholders."

Aventis board members will hold a majority of seats on the new management committee of Sanofi-Aventis but Sanofi, the smaller of the two companies, will hold key positions: its existing head of research Gerard Le Fur taking on the equivalent role while Hanspeter Spek will retain the title of head of pharmaceutical operations.

Three of Aventis' best-known executives will not make it to the management committee. Finance director Patrick Langlois, and chief operating officer Richard Markham are expected to leave the company and chief executive Igor Landau will swap his management role for a seat on Sanofi-Aventis' supervisory board.

Analysts said the appointment of Sanofi executives to top jobs after the merger would improve its chances of achieving the E1.6 billion cost-savings target, a figure which Mr Landau had initially questioned along with a number of other 'synergy' targets before Aventis accepted an improved offer.

Gilles Brisson, current head of Aventis in Europe will take charge of the new company's operations on the continent with the exception of France and Germany. Christian Lajoux, head of Europe for Sanofi will take charge in France while Germany goes to Aventis' Deutscheland's Heinz-Werner Meier.

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