Sanofi-Aventis has appointed Hugh O'Neill, formerly of the company's U.S. operations, as president and CEO of its Canadian operations. The Paris-based company said Wednesday O'Neill will drive a new Canadian strategy, including addressing the needs of patients, physicians, payers and policy-makers on a regional basis; positioning the company's products as investments for the health-care system; working with providers to target appropriate patients; and communicating the importance of disease prevention. "Sanofi-Aventis is prepared to make a fundamental shift in the way we do business in Canada, stepping away from the traditional pharmaceutical model and rethinking our most basic assumptions in order to build a sustainable long-term business model," O'Neill stated. O'Neill said he will encourage Sanofi-Aventis's Canadian employees to "challenge the status quo" in order to better understand customer needs. He added that he will emphasize the ability of Sanofi-Aventis's products to reduce costs for the health-care system as a whole. Since taking over Sanofi-Aventis at the start of the year, chief executive Chris Viehbacher has led a program aimed at arming the company to take on generic competition and replace aging blockbuster drugs with new treatments. Sanofi-Aventis employs more than 2,000 people at its Canadian operations. Shares in the company gained 35 cents to $35.62 in morning trading on the New York stock exchange.