Can Rosalind Brewer cure what is ailing Walgreens business?
Walgreens Boots Alliance has reached a deal with Rosalind Brewer to join the company as its new chief executive officer, replacing Stefano Pessina who announced last summer that he would move to executive chairman of the company’s board once his replacement was found.
Ms. Brewer, who most recently served as chief operating officer and, before that, CEO of Sam’s Club for five years, becomes the only Black woman to lead a Fortune 500 company, according to a Wall Street Journal report.
Mr. Pessina said in a statement that Ms. Brewer is an “experienced executive who has led organizations globally through periods of changing consumer behavior by applying innovation that elevates customer experiences —ultimately driving significant and sustainable growth and value creation.”
He lauded “her relentless focus on the customer, talent development, operational rigor and strong expertise in digital and technological transformation” calling those qualities “exactly what” the drugstore giant needs at this point in time.
Ms. Brewer joins Walgreens following a period when the company’s profit fell even as sales increased. Sales at Walgreens pharmacies in the U.S. only rose 1.6 percent in the first quarter as the chain said prescription volume failed to grow at expected level.
The chain rolled out a new loyalty program, myWalgreens, and launched a 30-minute pickup service at its stores in November.
Walgreens, which along with its drugstore rival CVS, is expected to play a major role in vaccinating Americans against COVID-19. That fits with the retailer’s announced intention is to raise its reputation as a health destination. Walgreens announced last summer that it planned to make a $1 billion equity investment in VillageMD. The deal would locate up to 700 primary care doctor’s offices in Walgreens’ stores in 30 markets over the next five years.
- Walgreens Poaches Starbucks Executive Rosalind Brewer for CEO – The Wall Street Journal
- Walgreens Boots Alliance Appoints Rosalind Brewer as Chief Executive Officer, and Stefano Pessina as Executive Chairman of the Board – Walgreens Boots Alliance
- Walgreens reinvents its loyalty program, launches 30-minute pickup service – RetailWire
- Will doctors prove a cure-all for Walgreens competitive ills? – RetailWire
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: What do you expect Rosalind Brewer to bring to her role as CEO of Walgreens? What do you see as the major challenges she will face as she takes over the job?