Sanofi cutting 160 jobs in Chattanooga, keeping manufacturing in city

Sanofi cutting 160 jobs in Chattanooga, keeping manufacturing in city

November 14th, 2018 by Mike Pare in Breaking News

Updated at 10:24 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14, 2018, with more information.

Sanofi, the French pharmaceutical giant that purchased long-time Chattanooga company Chattem in 2010, is cutting 160 jobs in the city.

Sanofi is sending the jobs, which include marketing, sales, research and development and some support functions, to New Jersey as it restructures its consumer health care business there, said company spokeswoman Ashleigh Koss.

But the company, known for such popular brands as Allegra, Gold Bond and Icy Hot, will keep its manufacturing presence and 650 jobs in Chattanooga, she said.

"We will continue to maintain a significant presence in Chattanooga with our manufacturing operations, which is not affected by these changes," Koss said.

Employees impacted by the shift will be given the opportunity to apply for new roles opening in Bridgewater, New Jersey, she said. For those who do not obtain other spots at Sanofi or are not able to relocate, the company will offer separation packages that include cash, continued health benefits, and career transition services, Koss said.

She said that Robert Long, head of North America consumer health care for Sanofi in Chattanooga, does not plan to relocate to New Jersey. But, he has agreed to continue to lead the business unit until his successor is named, Koss said.

Sybil Topel, the Chattanooga Chamber of Commerce's vice president of marketing and communications, said it's disappointing any time jobs move away.

"This is one of our economic realities and the reason why communities across the country are constantly competing for new jobs and investment," she said.

Sanofi, based in Paris, bought Chattem in 2010 for $1.9 billion in cash. Since that time, the company expanded its product line, adding blockbuster offerings such as Allegra and Nasacort, and added to its employee headcount in Chattanooga.

Sanofi manufactures or packages some of its most popular products in Chattanooga. Among those are Gold Bond, ACT, Unisom, Allegra, Xyzal, Nasacort, Icy Hot, Aspercreme, Zantac, Dulcolax and Cortizone 10.

Chattem was founded as the Chattanooga Medicine Co. in 1879, starting operations in a small two-story brick building on Market Street downtown, according to the company.

Koss said plans are for Sanofi's new consumer health care organization to be in place in New Jersey by July 1, 2019.

She said the existing office space in Chattanooga located at 1715 W. 38th St. will be repurposed.

Revenues related to the company's Chattanooga operations were estimated to have hit about $1.5 billion last year.

Long, who had succeeded longtime Chattem chief Zan Guerry in 2014, said earlier that when Sanofi purchased the local company in 2010, it was a $500 million-a-year business.

The Chattem name was dropped last year in favor of Sanofi's Chattanooga campus.

Contact Mike Pare at mpare@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6318. Follow him on Twitter @MikePareTFP.


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