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When Sanofi-Synth�labo hired Laurent Cohen-Tanugi as its new senior vice president for legal affairs and GC in January, the Paris-based pharmaceutical giant got both a lawyer and a man of letters. In addition to 20 years of experience in the Paris office of Cleary, Gottlieb, Steen & Hamilton, the 46-year-old has had an accomplished career as a public intellectual. Cohen-Tanugi has published six books on European affairs and transatlantic relations, plus dozens of columns for French newspapers. His most recent book, An Alliance at Risk: The United States and Europe Since September 11, was translated into English and published by Johns Hopkins University Press in September. How did a Cleary, Gottlieb partner find time to become such a Renaissance man? “I write in the evenings and weekends and on vacation,” Cohen-Tanugi explains. Plus, he says: “I write easily.” His immersion in intellectual pursuits began early. Cohen-Tanugi graduated from one of France’s most selective liberal arts programs, at the University of Paris, before beginning his legal studies, which included earning a master of laws degree from Harvard Law School. Cohen-Tanugi says he still draws on the lessons he learned during the three years he spent reading Marcel Proust, Jorge Luis Borges, and other intellectual giants. “Literature studies help you know how to write well, and also how to read,” he says. And while a background in literature may not be relevant to the pharmaceutical industry, the lawyer-writer says he is excited to be in-house. A corporate generalist by choice, Cohen-Tanugi says he had become increasingly frustrated by his firm’s pressure to specialize. The onslaught of new responsibilities at Sanofi-Synth�labo, France’s second-largest drugmaker, will cut into his writing time. Between heading a 100-lawyer department and serving on the company’s executive team, the GC says he may need to put his next book on hold. But Cohen-Tanugi is hardly ready to abandon his intellectual pursuits. “I’m definitely expecting to continue writing and being in the public debate,” he says. For now, though, the only text Cohen-Tanugi may have time for is Sanofi-Synth�labo’s annual report.

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