Sanofi appoints its first chief digital officer


Sanofi has become the latest big pharma firm to appoint a chief digital officer, choosing Ameet Nathwani to take up the position, adding onto his current role of executive vice president, chief medical officer.

In the newly-created role, Dr Nathwani will be responsible for enhancing Sanofi's strategy to integrate digital technologies and medical science to improve patient outcomes.

His mandate will include scaling up Sanofi's ongoing portfolio of digital initiatives by developing broad external partnerships, building out internal infrastructures, and exploring new business opportunities for Sanofi in the digital space.

"Over the last two years, we have made fast progress in creating an innovative portfolio of digital initiatives and novel partnerships," commented Olivier Brandicourt, chief executive officer at Sanofi. "With Ameet's wide experience in digital health and analytics, we will be able to further advance our capabilities to re-invent not only the way we discover and develop medicines but the types of future products we may offer to patients around the world."

Dr Nathwani joined Sanofi in May 2016 as chief medical officer. He has more than 20 years of experience in the pharmaceutical industry. Prior to joining Sanofi, he was the global head of medical affairs at Novartis and served as an extended member of the Pharma Executive Committee, where he led the establishment of a Real World Evidence Center of Excellence and Digital Medicine capability.

He joined Novartis in 2004 as the senior vice president and global development head of the cardiovascular and metabolic franchise and over 11 years held a number of senior development and commercial positions, including the global head of the critical care business franchise.

As digital tech becomes increasingly important to pharma companies’ success, several firms have created similar positions.

Last year Pfizer appointed Lidia Fonseca as chief digital and technology officer during its leadership shakeup.

And in 2017 both GSK and Novartis created such positions, although unlike Sanofi's internal promotion they chose to hire execs from the world of retail to head up their digital operations – Karenann Terrell and Bertrand Bodson respectively.