Savior or goat, which will it be?

Savior or goat, which will it be?

A week from today Sanofi (NYSE:SNY) will be holding their IR Thematic Seminar on New Medicines at the Genzyme Headquarters in Cambridge, MA. The question is will they have a new CEO sitting at the table. The closer we get to this event the more it’s beginning to feel as if Sanofi has been left stranded at the altar. That they have been unsuccessful in their pursuit of current AstraZeneca (NYSE:AZN) Pascal Soriot, whom everyone believes has been offered the job.

As Diabetic Investor speculated previously it’s quite possible, even likely, that Mr. Soriot is holding out for better terms or using Sanofi’s pursuit to strengthen his package at AstraZeneca. We can’t imagine what he might want but to use a baseball analogue here Soriot is the hottest free agent on the market and he’s taking full advantage of the situation. AstraZeneca knows this and doesn’t want to lose Soriot to another team and could well outbid everyone else and retain Soriot.

Should it turn out that Soriot doesn’t land at Sanofi, the obvious question is who the second hottest free agent on the market is. Is it Enrique Conterno, the current senior vice president of Lilly (NYSE:LLY) and president of Lilly Diabetes. Or perhaps it’s NPS Pharmaceutical (NASDAQ:NPSP) CEO Francois Nader or will it be someone from within Sanofi. Maybe just maybe there is an unknown candidate whose name has not been circulating in the hot rumor mill.

All we know is the longer this search takes the more it appears the company will not land Soriot and will then move onto choices two or three. A fact not likely lost on the other candidates which put them somewhat in the catbirds seat from a negotiating position. The event Thursday could provide some clues as just where the company is leaning for surly questions will be asked regarding who and when the position will be filled.

No matter who comes in stakeholders would be wise not to get overly excited or disappointed for that matter. Going back to our baseball analogue, recently the Chicago Cubs canned their manager and retained Joe Madden as their new skipper. An event which was hailed as major improvement for a franchise that has not won a World Series in over 100 years. Yes Cubbie nation is excited as many believe that Madden is their man to take the franchise to the Promised Land.  Looking over the existing pool of young talent and the expected free agent signings, it looks like Madden will have the talent needed, if not this year, but in the next few years to get the Cubs and their long suffering fans the World Series championship they have waited so long for.

However a word of caution here as Madden is not the first would be savior brought in by the Cubs as many come before him only to be false prophets. Dusty Baker and Lou Piniella, two managers with impressive resumes have also managed the Cubs. And just as Madden is now viewed as the Savior so too were Dusty and Sweet Lou. Yet neither with their impressive resumes or talent that surrounded them could get the Cubs to the World Series let alone win one.

On the flip side Bruce Bochy, a well-respected manager in his own right, was not considering a big time skipper when he first took over the current World Champion San Francisco Giants. Even more impressive is that this is third World Series Championship in the last five years for the Giants.  Working with management Bochy maximized his experienced players with free agent newcomers and is now the envy of the baseball world.

Sanofi stakeholders would be wise to learn from this experience, although we’re not sure if they do anything other than drink wine in France or if they even know what baseball is. Yet like Cub fans across the nation Sanofi stakeholders and employees are hoping whoever comes in produces Bochy like results. Baseball isn’t all that different than running a global pharmaceutical company in that all that matters is results and when results don’t materialize or when the skipper loses the confidence of ownership it’s off with their head. Something the French and Chris Viehbacher know all too well.