10 Things You Didn’t Know About Biogen CEO Michel Vounatsos

Michel Vounatsos is the current CEO of Biogen, Inc. He is the leader of one of the largest Biotech companies in the nation. It’s interesting to learn more about the powerful executives who have worked their way to the top in their industries and Mr. Vounatsos brings an impressive CV to the job. We’ve chosen ten interesting facts about his career and his life to offer a more complete picture of who the man at the help of Biogen is and what he brings to the job.

1. He was formally educated in France

Vounatsos attended the University Victor Segalen, Bordeaux II in France. This is where he earned his C.S.C.T. certificate in Medicine. He went on to attend the HEC School of Management in Paris, where he received his Master in Business Administration.

2. He’s a Moroccan native

Michel was born in Morocco and this is where he was raised as a child. He is a French national of Greek extraction. He has since gone on to receive his education in France and work at multiple locations throughout the world. He brings a vast knowledge of multiculturalism based upon his exposure to people from a variety of backgrounds and this is one of the factors has aided in the development of his skills for executive level leadership in the biotech industry for companies with global connections.

3. He spent 2 decades at Merck

Mr. Vounatsos enjoyed a long and successful career at Merck pharmaceuticals and was the leader of the global primary care business unit at the company. he was instrumental in Merck’s development and institution of a strategic frameworks that improved their relationships with governments, retailers and payers on a global level. His background made him the ideal candidate fr this job. He served as Merck’s President of the Primary Care Business Line and well as their Customer Centricity divisions.

4. He didn’t start out as an executive

It is rare that anyone would begin their career in an executive level position, and although this happens on occasion, it wasn’t the case for Mr. Vounatsos. He started out at a company called Ciba-Geigy. At this business he held down a variety of management positions and gained a wealth of knowledge before moving on to higher ranking leadership positions at Merck.

5. He worked his way up quickly at Biogen, Inc.

Michel Vounatsos Was hired at Biogen, Inc. in 2016. He spent his first year with the company as their Executive Vice President and Chief Commercial Officer. He was named as the CEO of Biogen in 2017, replacing George A. Scangos who led the company since 2010. Mr. Scangos was waiting for a suitable successor to step down from the position and it only took a year with the company for them to decide that Vounatsos was the best candidate.

6. No executives are paid more at Biogen

When we looked into Mr. Vounatsos’ compensation information we learned that there is no other executive within the company who is paid more than he. The total compensation package that he receives annually from Biogen, Inc. is $13,664,400.

7. Michel Vounatsos is a family man

Michel’s personal life is as interesting as his professional career. He is married and he and his wife Martine have traveled throughout the world together for the past 25 years following the path of Michel’s career. The couple have three children together and his wife is a doctor.

8. He owns a lot of stock in Biogen

Mr. Vounatsos has received units of stock as a part of his annual compensation package. he owns more than 18,914 shares of Biogen stock. He traded 5,269 units of the stock recently with an estimated value of more than $6,153,292. His current net wealth is estimated t be at least at $19.8 million as of early 2019.

9. He speaks six languages

In addition to his tremendous leadership talents, Mr. Vounatsos also speaks six languages. When you consider that he was raised in Morocco, educated in France and has actively engaged in global interactions in his 20 year career with Merck, knowing multiple languages was probably a necessity, at a minimum it certainly has come in handy. He’s had leadership responsibilities for Merck’s Europe, US and China divisions.

10. Michel Vounatsos is not afraid to take a risk

His current focus at Biogen is focusing on neurological and psychiatric diseases. One of the main focuses of Biogen since 2018 has been on research and development of treatments for psychiatric and neurological diseases. According to the information we accessed, this is a gamble and it goes against current trends in the industry, but as we’ve learned, most successful leaders are not afraid to take a risk because it is in succeeding that they often experience their finest hour.


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