Sanofi general counsel loses out to Aventis in-houser post-merger

Laurent Cohen-Tanugi, group general counsel at Sanofi-Synthelabo, has missed out on the top job in the combined Sanofi/Aventis to his counterpart at Aventis.

Dirk Oldenburg’s appointment as general counsel of the pharmaceutical group is expected to take effect after completion of Sanofi’s €53bn (£35.52bn) hostile offer for larger rival Aventis.

Cohen-Tanugi only joined Sanofi last October from the French pharmaceutical company’s preferred counsel Cleary Gottlieb Steen & Hamilton.

Oldenburg’s appointment is part of a management rejig to create an 18-strong management committee.

Aventis’ key legal advisers, French firm Bredin Prat and US firm Sullivan & Cromwell, will be celebrating the appointment, as it may lead to them becoming principal advisers to the company.

Both scooped the lead roles advising Aventis on the Sanofi bid.

It could be a further blow to Cleary Gottlieb, which missed out to Linklaters on the instruction to act for Sanofi after being conflicted.

Cohen-Tanugi and Oldenberg were unavailable for comment.