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How Sanofi got rid of its chief exec

Chris Viehbacher was fired at a dawn board meeting, with the 'mess in Brazil' cited as one of the reasons

Paris

CHRIS Viehbacher speaks plainly. "We had somewhat of a mess in Brazil, so that's why I decided to change management," he told financial analysts in August 2013.

Fifteen months later, he has gone the same way as the Brazilian employees he sacked so decisively - fired as chief executive of French drugmaker Sanofi at a dawn board meeting, with the "mess in Brazil" cited as one of the reasons.

Investors were stunned, having hitherto seen the affable German-Canadian as one of the best in the business, despite some setbacks and a tough few years for the drugs industry worldwide.

The whirlwind week began on Oct 27 with a leaked letter to the board, dated Sept 4, in which Mr Viehbacher wrote of rumours...

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