Sanofi’s Head of Strategy Leaves Six Months After Ouster of CEO

Sanofi’s chief strategy officer has left the drugmaker, marking the highest-level departure since the ouster of Chris Viehbacher as CEO.

David-Alexandre Gros decided to leave the Paris-based company to pursue other opportunities, Greg Miley, a spokesman for Sanofi, said in e-mailed comments. An automated e-mail response from Gros’s Sanofi address said he was no longer with the company. He was a member of the executive committee.

Gros, a physician and former investment banker at Centerview Partners, was brought in by Viehbacher in 2011 to oversee business development and acquisitions as well as strategic planning, alliance management and strategic intelligence. He helped forge closer ties with Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc. and oversaw Sanofi’s purchase of a stake in Alnylam Pharmaceuticals Inc., a maker of treatments for rare genetic diseases.

So far, two other key hires made by Viehbacher -- Elias Zerhouni, head of research and development, and Chief Financial Officer Jerome Contamine -- have remained at the company. Olivier Brandicourt joined as chief executive officer on April 2, a few weeks after Sanofi’s best-selling Lantus diabetes treatment lost patent protection. He is introducing new therapies including Toujeo insulin as competition intensifies in the U.S.

A top researcher left the drugmaker at the end of last year. Andy Plump, who was senior vice president for research and translational medicine and a member of Sanofi’s global leadership team, joined Takeda Pharmaceutical Co. of Japan.

Following Gros’s departure, Sanofi’s mergers & acquisitions department now reports to Contamine, Miley said. The rest of the organization will retain its structure, he said, with Brandicourt leading the strategy and business development department on an interim basis until a successor is found.