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Sanofi appoints Nestlé executive as new finance chief

Nestlé veteran François-Xavier Roger will succeed Sanofi chief financial officer Jean-Baptiste Chasseloup de Chatillon on April 1, the French pharmaceutical company said Thursday alongside fourth quarter earnings.

Chatillon will be step down from his post to become head of Apprentis d’Auteuil, a foundation that supports adolescents with education and training programs.

Chatillon has been Sanofi’s CFO since 2018, a period of significant corporate change for the drugmaker. Most recently in October, Sanofi revealed plans to divest its consumer health business and shift resources to immunology drug research from oncology. The restructuring will also involve some $1.3 billion in cost-cutting.

Roger, meanwhile, has served as Nestlé’s finance chief for the past eight years. He got his start working for several pharma companies, including the Sanofi-acquired Aventis. Prior to Nestlé, Roger was CFO for Japan-based company Takeda Pharmaceuticals from 2013 to 2015.

Announcement of the executive change came as Sanofi reported fourth quarter earnings of just under 11 billion euros, or about about $12 billion. Full-year revenue totaled over $46 billion, roughly flat from a year prior.

Shares in the company dipped in Thursday trading, but not nearly as severely as after the company’s third quarter earnings, when executives’ sales outlook sparked a stock sell-off.

Sanofi is aiming to separate its consumer health division into a standalone company based in France. While a specific date has not been set, Sanofi said it is aiming to split off the business by the fourth quarter at the earliest.

Dupixent, the company’s top-selling immune disease drug, continues to power sales growth for Sanofi’s specialty medicines business. Uptake of the company’s antibody shot for respiratory syncytial virus helped boost sales from its vaccines business unit by 21% year over year.

Sold as Beyfortus, the shot won U.S. clearance over the summer for infants up to two years of age who are vulnerable to the virus. Demand has surpassed Sanofi’s expectations, leading to a supply shortage as the RSV season began last fall, however. The company was forced to ration doses as it and partner AstraZeneca worked to boost supply.

Even so, sales of the antibody reached 410 million euros, or $444 million, in the drug’s second quarter on the market.