Sanofi ousts CEO after he warned of struggle ahead with diabetes drug in the US

PARIS – The board of drug maker Sanofi has fired its chief executive officer after he warned that pricing pressure on a bestselling diabetes treatment in the U.S. would hurt growth into next year.

The Paris-based company announced that the board met Wednesday morning and unanimously decided to remove Christopher Viehbacher, and appointed Serge Weinberg as acting CEO. French media have speculated of a rift between Viehbacher and board members.

Sanofi’s shares more than doubled during Viehbacher’s six years at the helm as he cut costs and shifted focus to biotechnology, vaccines and over-the-counter medications.

But shares dived Tuesday after Sanofi reported a slide in quarterly earnings. Viehbacher said pricing pressure on its Lantus diabetes treatment in the key U.S. market would continue to hamper sales growth into 2015.