(Adds Sanofi spokesman comment)
PARIS Nov 4 Sanofi's management
considered moving its headquarters abroad in the last few months
but the plan was nixed by the drugmaker's chairman, French
weekly Le Journal du Dimanche reported on Sunday, citing sources
close to the board.
First mooted in July, when the Socialist government was
preparing to introduce a 75 percent tax on top earnings, the
plan envisaged moving the headquarters to London or the United
States, or at least relocating Chief Executive Chris Viehbacher
and his closest associates abroad.
However, Chairman Serge Weinberg vetoed the project, the
newspaper said, saying that Viehbacher had not raised the issue
A Sanofi spokesman denied such plans were discussed and said
the company's recent move to new corporate headquarters in Paris
showed its commitment to its base in the city.
Several of the company's top executives are foreign and
spend most of their time travelling abroad.
In addition to German-Canadian Viehbacher, they include
Elias Zerhouni, an Algerian-born American in charge of research
and development, and Hanspeter Spek, the German-born president
of global operations.
Italian Roberto Pucci, senior vice president of human
resources, and Karen Linehan, Sanofi's American-born general
counsel, are also part of the executive committee.
Sanofi, which is reshuffling its French research operations
at a cost of around 900 jobs, would not be the first French firm
to consider moving top executives overseas.
French industrial conglomerate Schneider Electric
has kept its headquarters near Paris, but its top managers,
including Chief Executive Jean-Pascal Tricoire, relocated to
Hong Kong last year in a move to be closer to fast-growing
markets in Asia.
Industry Minister Arnaud Montebourg, who has opposed the
reorganisation of Sanofi's research activities in France, was
cited by the newspaper as saying he hoped the plan was just a
(Reporting by Elena Berton; Editing by Hugh Lawson)