Sanofi has confirmed that Bayer healthcare boss Olivier Brandicourt is to be its new chief executive, filling the void created by the sacking of Chris Viehbacher in October.

Mr Brandicourt (pictured) will take over on April 2 after what Sanofi chairman Serge Weinberg described as “a rigorous selection process to identify the right person…at an important time for our company”. The Frenchman (59) leaves Bayer having only taken over its healthcare ops in November 2013 but he has a wealth of experience in the sector, starting at Parke-Davis/Warner-Lambert in 1987 and then Pfizer.

Mr Weinberg noted Mr Brandicourt's “international profile [and] deep knowledge of US and emerging healthcare markets”, saying “his capability to unite teams will provide new dynamism to Sanofi's strategy of diversification and innovation”.

The mention of uniting teams is an interesting one, given that Mr Viehbacher’s surprise departure was blamed by some on his rumoured lack of communication with the Sanofi board.

Mr Brandicourt’s brief spell at Bayer was a successful one and analysts are saying he has a tough job back in Paris, given the problems Sanofi's key diabetes franchise has been having, especially in the USA.

He will be replaced at Bayer by Werner Baumann (52), a member of the board who joined the German group in 1988.