Christopher Viehbacher, a longtime Triangle resident who lost out in the battle for the chief executive officer job at GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) to Andrew Witty, is “feeling pretty good” about the company he is leading through a turnaround.

Viebacher talked at length with The Associated Press about what he is doing at Sanofi Aventis (NYSE: SNY) in an interview published Friday.

“I’m actually feeling pretty good about the company,” Veihbacher said.

“Now, when I came in, in 2008, it was a company where two-thirds of the sales were with 15 blockbusters and, you know, a lot of those things were going to go off patent, (with) no real plan to get through it,” he added. “Sanofi had one of the most concentrated and one of the biggest (patent cliffs) … When you think about being France’s second-biggest company and recruiting, first of all, not only from outside but recruiting a non-French person from outside, it was pretty clear that the board was looking for some pretty significant change. … So we decided to create what have become six platforms for growth and then to really align our resources.”

For the full interview, read here.

Get the latest news alerts: Follow WRAL Tech Wire at Twitter.