PARIS (Reuters) - Sanofi is considering cutting hundreds of jobs and will discuss potential steps with staff representatives over the coming days, five sources said on Thursday, the latest move by the French drugmaker’s chief executive Paul Hudson to cut costs. Management will meet staff representatives on Friday and Monday next week to outline a restructuring plan, five sources familiar with the matter told Reuters. They declined to be identified as the plan is still confidential.
The reorganisation could involve several European countries and possibly others outside the region, as well as all the divisions of Sanofi except the vaccines and rare diseases unit Genzyme, the sources said.
Three sources said around 1,000 jobs in France were at risk. One of the sources said the cuts would take place over a three-year period, with no forced redundancies.
Sanofi said strategy matters would be discussed at two meetings convened for June 26-29. “Information will be shared with staff representatives first and no redundancy plan will be presented then,” the company said in an e-mailed statement.
The discussions come after Hudson announced in December plans to cut 2 billion euros ($2.24 billion) in costs by 2022. He joined the company in September from Novartis.
“The COVID-19 (pandemic) had slowed the announcement, but (the measures) are part of the CEO roadmap,” one of the sources said.
Hudson has pledged to commit resources in areas where he believes Sanofi can secure leading positions.
Since his arrival, the company ended research in diabetes and cardiovascular, an area where Sanofi had lost ground over the years, narrowed the number of its divisions and set out higher profit targets.
The group has also been bulking up, including in the lucrative field of cancer drugs. It announced a deal last year to buy U.S. biotechnology firm Synthorx for about $2.5 billion.
Vaccines are also a top priority and the company is currently working on two candidates to prevent COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus that has killed more than 483,000 globally, one in partnership with GlaxoSmithKline and another with U.S. Translate Bio.
Sanofi said on June 16 it would invest 610 million euros at two French sites to turn them into a hub dedicated to research, development and production of vaccines, with some 200 new jobs expected to be created on one of the locations.
Reporting by Matthias Blamont; Writing by Josephine Mason; Editing by Edmund Blair/Jon Boyle/Jane Merriman