In the 1970s, when founder Dr Jacques Servier started planning his succession, he investigated many different options for ensuring the group would survive well into the distant future.
His primary aim was to find a structure that would best enable the group — in an atmosphere of unity and harmony — to fulfil its objective: be freely and sustainably committed to discovering innovative medicines for the benefit of patients and making them available to the medical community.
The Servier group was to remain “a group of people, not a group of capital”.
This aim for the company could only be continued if Servier group were to:
To do that, the presence of shareholders, whose main focus tends to be maximising the return on invested capital, was not the best option. In fact, it would have prevented the reinvestment of total profit into company growth, and endangered or even terminated the group’s independence and sustainability.
Doctor Servier’s main concern was not to retain the “family character” of the company, which would have posed complications to maintaining harmony and unity in group strategy as well as day-to-day management.
He also did not want to subject the group to an initial public offering (IPO), in whole or in part, because this scenario presented three major disadvantages:
Therefore, to ensure independence and sustainability, and give priority to entrepreneurial choices on the development of assets, Dr Servier considered that power (i.e. governance) and capital (i.e. financial rights) should be separated.
With that in mind, he decided upon the following course of action: