Christopher A. Viehbacher, CEO of Sanofi, designated new President elect of EFPIA

06.11.2012, Brussels: EFPIA is delighted to announce the designation of Christopher A. Viehbacher, Chief Executive Officer of Sanofi as the new President elect of EFPIA. He will take up the position as of June 2013 for a two year term.

His designation comes at a key moment for the pharmaceutical industry. The European institutions are now focusing on a growth agenda in which the pharmaceutical industry will play a fundamental role. This has been stated by President Barroso’s state of the Union address as well as the reindustrialization policy launched by the Commission’s DG Entreprise in October of this year. Regarding the designation Richard Bergström the Director General of EFPIA said: “Chris Viehbacher is well placed to take over the leadership of EFPIA. At this time, it is important to remind ourselves and others what is needed to sustain research based pharmaceuticals in Europe. Chris was involved in the high-level group G10 Medicines and has shown his ability to engage with policy-makers world-wide. I look forward to working with him.”

Commenting on his designation as President elect, Christopher Viehbacher stated “I’m extremely honoured by this designation that comes in the midst of a crisis period when high value-added industry such as healthcare sector is what European countries need. There’s a virtuous economic cycle of investing in education and then research and innovation. The challenge Europe is currently facing is about managing to reduce government deficits and debt without smothering the opportunity for growth; to make sure that relevant pro-growth, pro-innovation strategies can be activated”


Christopher A. Viehbacher holds German and Canadian nationalities. He is a graduate of the Queens University (Ontario - Canada) and trained as a certified public accountant. Since December 2008, he has held the position of Chief Executive Officer, Sanofi and is a Board member, in addition to being a member of the Strategy Committee. He is also Chairman of Genzyme, which Sanofi acquired in February 2011.

Christopher Viehbacher started his career in finance at PriceWaterhouseCoopers before joining GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) in 1988. Throughout the next 20 years with the company, he acquired broad international experience in Europe, in the United States and in Canada. His previous position, before joining Sanofi was President of Pharmaceutical Operations North America. He was also a member of the Board and Co-Chairman of the Portfolio Management Board.

Christopher Viehbacher has been the Chairman of PhRMA in the United States (December 2010 – April 2012) and since February 2011 is Chair of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer. This association brings together employers across
the United States to develop and implement workplace initiatives that reduce the risk of cancer, enable early diagnosis, facilitate better access to best-available treatments and hasten the discovery of novel and more effective
diagnostic tools and anti-cancer therapies. Over 120 organisations are now members, covering 3 million employees.
In 2003, the French government acknowledged his commitment to public health and business by making him a knight of the French Legion of Honor. In 2012 he received the prestigious Pasteur Foundation Award, recognizing his leadership role within the pharmaceutical industry’s support of research & development and improving health of the 7 billion people around the world.

Amongst other commitments, Christopher Viehbacher is also a member of International Business Council (WEF) and a member of the Board of Visitors of Fuqua School of Business, Duke University.

About EFPIA:

EFPIA represents the pharmaceutical industry operating in Europe. Through its direct membership of 33 national associations and 35 leading pharmaceutical companies, EFPIA provides the voice of 1,900 companies committed to researching, developing and bringing new medicines to improve health and quality of life around the world. The pharmaceutical industry invests 27.5 billion on research and development per year in Europe and directly employs 660,000 people including 116,000 in R&D units in Europe.

EFPIA members are committed to delivering innovative medicines to address unmet needs of patients and reducing the burden of chronic diseases for Europe’s ageing population. EFPIA believes in close cooperation with its stakeholders to help create sustainable healthcare systems and to develop prompt responses to health threats in Europe.

To read more People News articles, click here.