Roz Brewer leaves Walgreens after two years as CEO

Roz Brewer

Roz Brewer, the chief executive officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance, has stepped down from her role after more than two years in charge of the pharmacy chain. Brewer, who was one of the few Black women leading a Fortune 500 company, also left the company’s board of directors, effective Thursday.

Roz Brewer

Mutual decision to step down

According to a news release from Walgreens, the decision to step down was mutual between Brewer and the board. The company did not give any specific reason for her departure, but thanked her for her leadership and contributions.

“Roz has been instrumental in driving our transformation strategy and positioning Walgreens Boots Alliance for future success,” said James Skinner, executive chairman of Walgreens. “She has led with passion and purpose, accelerating our digitalization, fostering a culture of innovation and diversity, and strengthening our community impact.”

Brewer said she was proud of what she and the team had accomplished at Walgreens, especially during the Covid-19 pandemic.

“I am confident that WBA is on track to be a leading consumer-centric healthcare company, serving thousands of communities across the country, especially those that need access to healthcare the most,” she said.

Interim CEO appointed

The board has appointed Ginger Graham, the lead independent director, as interim CEO while it conducts a search for a permanent successor. Graham has been on the board since 2015 and has extensive experience in the healthcare industry.

She is the former president and CEO of Amylin Pharmaceuticals, a biopharmaceutical company that developed treatments for diabetes and obesity. She is also a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School and a board member of several other companies.

“I am honored to serve as interim CEO and look forward to working closely with our talented senior leadership team and all our dedicated colleagues to continue executing our strategy and delivering value for our customers, patients and shareholders,” Graham said.

Challenges faced by Walgreens

Brewer’s departure comes at a challenging time for Walgreens, which has faced declining sales and profits amid the Covid-19 pandemic. The company has been hurt by a drop in demand for Covid testing and vaccines, as well as lower foot traffic and prescription volumes in its stores.

Walgreens has also faced increased competition from online rivals such as Amazon, which acquired online pharmacy PillPack in 2018 and launched its own pharmacy service last year. Walgreens has tried to counter this threat by expanding its digital offerings, such as launching a loyalty program, partnering with DoorDash for delivery, and investing in VillageMD to offer primary care services in its stores.

Brewer joined Walgreens in March 2021 after serving as the chief operating officer of Starbucks. She was previously the president and CEO of Sam’s Club, a division of Walmart. She was widely praised for her efforts to transform Walgreens into a more health-focused company that could compete in the changing retail landscape.

She was also recognized for her advocacy for diversity and inclusion, both within Walgreens and in the broader business community. She was ranked No. 27 on Fortune’s list of Most Powerful Women in Business in 2021.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *