Sanofi-Aventis slashes hundreds of sales rep positions

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Sanofi-Aventis unveiled plans to cut 10% or less of its 6,500 US sales reps. Specific numbers were not available, as the company attempts to shuffle some of the redundant positions to other areas of the company, according to Marc Greene, a Sanofi-Aventis spokesperson.  

The announcement follows the commencement of Chris Viehbacher's tenure as Sanofi's CEO, which began on Dec. 1. Viehbacher, a PhRMA board member and previously GlaxoSmithKline's North America executive director and president, succeeds Gerard Le Fur.

Sanofi-Aventis's announcement coheres with many other consolidations and layoffs across the industry this year. Company-wide cost-cutting measures, like Wyeth's “Project Impact” and Novartis's “Customer Centric Initiative,” as well as other reductions of staff elsewhere, have become a common occurrence of late. 
In October 2008, Merck reorganized its business and cut 6,800 employees.  

Pfizer was expected to eliminated 10,000 positions by the end of 2008 and close two of its manufacturing sites in Brooklyn, NY, and Omaha, NE, as well as three research sites elsewhere in the US. 

AstraZeneca was on schedule to cut staff by nearly 12%, or 7,600 positions, by 2010, although US sales and marketing positions specifically were not expected to be affected. 

In November 2008, GSK announced a 12% cut in sales forces, a reduction of sales personnel from 8,500 to 7,500 while Schering-Plough cut 10% of its workforce—about 5,500 jobs. Wyeth, UCB, Novartis, Takeda, Johnson & Johnson, Amylin and Par Pharmaceuticals also announced job cuts in 2008. 

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