The French drugmaker announced that its board of directors voted to remove Viehbacher this morning, going on to explain that he resigned in response.
Sanofi said: “The Board of Directors thanks Christopher A. Viehbacher for all the work done during the last six years, which has enabled the Group to move through a sensitive and important transition phase.
“Going forward, the Group needs to pursue its development with a management aligning the teams, harnessing talents and focusing on execution with a close and confident cooperation with the Board.”
No reason for the decision has been given, instead the board confirmed its “commitment to continuing the strategy and the international expansion of the Group based on research and innovation and its growth platforms.”
Viehbacher's future at Sanofi has been a subject of speculation since he relocated to Boston, US in June.
This chatter intensified in the past few days prompting Sanofi to issue a statement to try and reassure investors on October 27.
“Like any board of a publicly traded company, from time to time Sanofi’s Board meets in non- executive sessions to discuss a wide range of issues. Sanofi confirmed that this ordinary board meeting is mainly dedicated to the review of the quarterly results and there is no agenda item regarding the succession of Chris Viehbacher.”
Evidently the meeting agenda changed. Sanofi chairman Serge Weinberg will take on the CEO role on an interim basis.
News of the Viehbacher's departure comes just days after Sanofi confirmed its financial guidance and predicted that sales of its diabetes products would be flat next year.