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2 Sep

Roz Brewer Exits Walgreens Boots Alliance – WWD

Roz Brewer is stepping down from the helm of Walgreens Boots Alliance and its board after two and a half years as the corporate dives deeper into health care, with each parties stressing that the choice was mutual.

The board has appointed Ginger Graham, current lead independent director, as the corporate’s interim chief executive officer while it conducts a seek for a everlasting candidate.

Executive chairman Stefano Pessina said the corporate will probably be looking for a successor with “deep health care experience to steer in today’s dynamic environment” because it moves further away from its drugstore origins and into health care.

In a note on her LinkedIn page, which she wrote was one of the difficult she had ever needed to compose, Brewer explained that the choice didn’t come without great consideration for “what’s best for all of you, our shareholders, customers, patients and my family.”

The previous chief operating officer of Starbucks and Sam’s Club executive was named CEO in March 2021, just as COVID-19 vaccines were becoming available to the American people. She built and led a team to establish the technology for a vaccine scheduling system, created a secure operating model for store labor, and developed a plan to drive vaccine equity. 

But the corporate has struggled to regain its footing and on Friday said it expects full-year 2023 adjusted earnings per share to be at or near the low end of its previously stated range.

Neil Saunders, managing director of GlobalData, noted that the departure of Brewer comes at a time when Walgreens is in a phase of change.

“The group, which previously grew through various pharmacy acquisitions, is now seeking to consolidate and focus its efforts on the U.S. health care sector. While the wisdom of this move is debatable, health care isn’t Ms. Brewer’s forte,” he said. “The retail side of the business, where Ms. Brewer has way more experience, is solely not an area that Walgreens desires to pursue as a significant growth opportunity. The potential sale of Boots, which Walgreens would really like to get rid of but is waiting for the correct conditions, is an extra sign of the retreat from retail.”

As for Graham, she has served on the WBA board since 2010, and in October 2022 was named the WBA board lead independent director. From 2003 to 2007, she was president and CEO of Amylin Pharmaceuticals. 

She said: “My focus will probably be on our people and our operations, working together to drive shareholder value creation and ensuring a smooth transition as soon as we discover the following CEO for the longer term.”

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