The top job at Bayer will be up for grabs at the end of 2016 now that chief executive  Marijn Dekkers has announced his intention to step down then.

The German major noted that “in line with his own wishes”, the contract of Dr Dekkers (pictured), 56, will be extended by just two years on expiration of the initial five-year period. He has cited family reasons for staying on only until the end of 2016.

Bayer also noted that in order to “ensure continuity in key aspects” of its future development, Werner Baumann (51), currently chief financial officer will become chief strategy and portfolio officer, effective October 1, and his contract runs until the end of 2017. Also, Johannes Dietsch (52), who is senior Bayer representative and CFO for Greater China based in Shanghai, will assume Mr Baumann’s current post.

Dr Dekkers’ appointment in 2010 caused something of a stir, seeing as the Dutchman was the first non-German CEO to take over the reins at the Leverkusen-headquartered company. Industry observers will now be watching to see whether Mr Baumann, or indeed Mr Dietsch, will be considered front-runners for the leadership.

Sticking with CEO news, it has been reported that Sanofi chief Chris Viehbacher has decided to relocate to the Boston area from Paris.

Le Monde first ran the story, which led to some speculation in other media that the move could be interpreted as a shift away from France for the company. However, Sanofi spokesman Jack Cox told Bloomberg that “this is a personal family decision made by Chris Viehbacher which will have no effect on the operation of the company”.