Michel Guerbet, a historic and iconic figure of the Group passed away

Michel Guerbet, a visionary leader and key contributor to shaping the diagnostic imaging has passed away, leaving an immense legacy at Guerbet.

A glance at the life of one of the Group's most innovative, audacious and appreciated historical figures.

It is with great sadness that we share the passing of Michel Guerbet, a historic figure in the development of the Guerbet Group. Michel Guerbet took over the leadership of the laboratory in 1965, shortly after the death of his father one year earlier.  Just for the anecdote, Michel should have taken over the leadership immediately from his father, but the French law at the time required the leader of a laboratory to be a pharmacist; Michel was a doctor. Until the law finally changed in 1965, his sister Nicole (a pharmacist) led the laboratory.

At that time, the company had 150 employees and generated 33% of its sales from exports. It was under Michel’s impetus and strategic vision that Guerbet developed its industrial network with the construction of plants in Aulnay (1968), Lanester (1981) and Rio (1991), the purchase and development of Simafex in 1987, as well as expanded its international commercial footprint, through alliances and the creation of subsidiaries in Europe, Asia and Brazil.

This innovative policy bore fruit, because by 1990 Guerbet had grown to 1,000 employees and increased its sales to 700 million francs.

Michel Guerbet

A doctor and researcher by training, Michel Guerbet was the leader who enabled the Group to invest successfully in research, leading to a series of major innovations in medical imaging, including Hexabrix®, the first low-osmolality ionic product (1979), and Dotarem®, the first macrocyclic gadolinium-based product (1989). He also gave a new lease on life to Lipiodol®, which was revived in the early 1980s for use in interventional imaging.

After 1998, Michel Guerbet kept a foot in the company for a long time, whether on the Board of Directors, of which he remained Chairman until 2001, or through the many events celebrating the laboratory, to which he was invited. The team at our industrial plant in Aulnay will fondly remember his last appearance at the site's fiftieth anniversary in 2018.

Copyright© Photo: Guerbet 

The Group owes a great deal to Michel Guerbet, and will always bear the imprint of this exceptional but humble man who took an interest in the life of the company and its employees; one day, in the Aulnay canteen, a worker who asked him: "And you? What do you do at Guerbet?” Michel Guerbet simply explained that he was the company's CEO!

Michel Guerbet and the Group

  • 1968: Inauguration of the Aulnay-sous-Bois factory
  • 1981: Construction of the Lanester factory,
  • 1991: Construction of the Rio de Janeiro factory in Brazil
  • 1997: Purchase of Simafex (Guerbet site in Marans)
  • 1979: Marketing of Hexabrix®, the first low osmolality ionic product
  • 1986: Guerbet SA shares are listed on the second market of the Paris Stock Exchange
  • 1989: Marketing of Dotarem ®, the first macrocyclic product based on gadolinium
  • 1990: 1000 employees, 700 million francs in turnover, and six subsidiaries: Belgium, Brazil, Japan, Portugal, Switzerland and the Netherlands