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Thursday, October 30, 2014

Power of "France Inc" on display in Sanofi boardroom coup, (NYSE: SNY)

Events at Sanofi this week cost a high-flying German-Canadian boss his job and global investors billions. They are also a reminder that corporate France carries the national interest in its DNA, and neglects its family duties at its peril. Chris Viehbacher, sacked by a unanimous vote of his board on Wednesday, made the group into a multinational, a top five global drugmaker with a footprint in over 100 countries. Although Paris-listed, the firm has less than a quarter of its employees in France, while a majority of its shareholders are to be found outside the country.Viehbacher's chairman said he was fired for poor co-operation and a disagreement over style.However, comments from the ex-CEO himself and sources close to the board made clear that his decision to move to Boston from Paris in June, and to consider cutting jobs in France without sharing the ideas at the top of the company, rankled with board members from the French establishment.Earlier in 2014, fearing a foreign bid for engineering group Alstom's power turbine business would move jobs and decision making abroad, the French government fought for and won a change of terms, strengthening along the way a law to discourage foreign offers in key sectors.

Sanofi, formerly Sanofi-Aventis is a global and diversified healthcare company. Shares of SNY fell by 5.93% or $-2.85/share to $45.22. In the past year, the shares have traded as low as $44.50 and as high as $57.42. On average, 1578910 shares of SNY exchange hands on a given day and today's volume is recorded at 16826608.