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Investors - Ensuring sustainable growth
Investors - Ensuring sustainable growth

Investors

Ensuring sustainable growth

 

NYSE Statement

Statement on Corporate Governance as Required by Article 303A-11 of the New York Stock Exchange’s Listed Company Manual.

The following is a brief explanation of the principal ways in which our corporate governance practices may differ from the New York Stock Exchange corporate governance rules applicable to U.S. corporations.

 

Sanofi is incorporated under the laws of France, with securities listed on regulated public markets in the United States (New York Stock Exchange) and France (Euronext Paris). Consequently, as described further in our annual report, our corporate governance framework reflects the mandatory provisions of French corporate law, the securities laws and regulations of France and the United States and the rules of the aforementioned public markets. In addition, we generally follow the "AFEP-MEDEF" corporate governance recommendations for French listed issuers (hereafter referred to as the "AFEP-MEDEF Code"). As a result, our corporate governance framework is similar in many respects to, and provides investor protections that are comparable to — or in some cases, more stringent than — the corresponding rules of the New York Stock Exchange. Nevertheless, there are important differences to keep in mind.

In line with New York Stock Exchange rules applicable to domestic issuers, Sanofi maintains a board of directors at least half of the members of which are independent. Sanofi evaluates the independence of members of our Board of Directors using the standards of the French AFEP-MEDEF Code as the principal reference. We believe that AFEP-MEDEF's overarching criteria for independence — no relationship of any kind whatsoever with the Company, its group or the management of either that is such as to color a Board member's judgment — are on the whole consistent with the goals of the New York Stock Exchange's rules although the specific tests proposed under the two standards may vary on some points. We have complied with the audit committee independence and other requirements of the Rule 10A-3 under the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, adopted pursuant to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. Our Compensation Committee includes non-independent members, which is permitted under the AFEP-MEDEF Code but would not be compliant with the rules of the New York Stock Exchange for domestic issuers.

Under French law, the committees of our Board of Directors are advisory only, and where the New York Stock Exchange Listed Company Manual would vest certain decision-making powers with specific committees by delegation (e.g., appointment or audit committees), under French law our Board of Directors remains the only competent body to take such decisions, albeit taking into account the recommendation of the relevant committees. Additionally, under French corporate law, it is the Shareholders' General Meeting of Sanofi that is competent to appoint our auditors upon the proposal of our Board of Directors, although our Board Charter provides that the Board of Directors will make its proposal on the basis of the recommendation of our Audit Committee. We believe that this requirement of French law, together with the additional legal requirement that two sets of statutory auditors be appointed, share the New York Stock Exchange's underlying goal of ensuring that the audit of our accounts be conducted by auditors independent from company management.

In addition to the oversight role of our Compensation Committee for questions of management compensation including by way of equity, under French law any option or restricted share plans or other share capital increases, whether for the benefit of senior management or employees, may only be adopted by the Board of Directors pursuant to and within the limits of a shareholder resolution approving the related capital increase and delegating to the Board the authority to implement such operations.

As described above, a number of issues, which could be resolved directly by a board or its committees in the United States, require the additional protection of direct shareholder consultation in France. On the other hand, there is not a tradition of non-executive Board of Directors sessions. Our Audit Committee is entirely composed of independent directors as that term is defined in Rule 10A-3 under the U.S. Securities Exchange Act of 1934, as amended, adopted pursuant to the Sarbanes-Oxley Act of 2002. The composition of our Audit Committee, Compensation Committee, and Appointments and Governance Committee includes directors who are also officers of our largest shareholder.

As a 'foreign private issuer' under the U.S. securities laws, our Chief Executive Officer and our Chief Financial Officer issue the certifications required by §302 and §906 of the Sarbanes Oxley Act of 2002 on an annual basis (with the filing of our annual report on U.S. Form 20-F) rather than on a quarterly basis as would be the case of a U.S. corporation filing quarterly reports on U.S. Form 10-Q.

French corporate law provides that the Board of Directors must vote to approve a broadly defined range of transactions that could potentially create conflicts of interest between Sanofi on the one hand and its Directors and Chief Executive Officer on the other hand, which are then presented to shareholders for approval at the next annual meeting. This legal safeguard provides shareholders with an opportunity to approve significant aspects of the Chief Executive Officer's compensation package, and it operates in place of certain provisions of the NYSE Listed Company Manual.