Walgreens has added new leaders to its retail team, who will oversee the pharmacy chain’s own brand strategy. First covered by Store Brands’ sister publication Progressive Grocer, Walgreens, which is included in the U.S. segment of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., is beefing up its customer leadership team with three established retail professionals.
Linh Peters will take on the SVP and chief marketing officer role, Luke Rauch will step up into the SVP and chief merchandising officer position, and Bala Visalatha will assume the SVP and chief product officer role, a newly created position. They will begin their new roles in May and report to Tracey Brown, president of retail products and chief customer officer.
“I am thrilled to have Linh, Luke and Bala join the Walgreens retail products and customer leadership team, and I’m confident that their collective decades of retail expertise and deep involvement with launching new customer experiences will accelerate growth in our company,” said Brown. “As strong innovators in their own right, each has an excellent track record when it comes to successfully identifying white spaces across different customer touchpoints and tracking evolving consumer trends, which will be instrumental as we transform our business.”
As the chief marketing officer, Peters will oversee the vision, strategic direction and performance of Walgreens’ marketing activities, including marketing collaboration, brand design, brand positioning and marketing plan execution.
Most recently, Peters was global chief marketing officer at Calvin Klein. She brings over 20 years of experience with such retailers as Starbucks, Target, Ulta Beauty and SpartanNash. Peters also serves on the advisory board for AYO Foods, a meal solutions brand delivering a line of West African-inspired cuisine.
Rauch will assume the chief merchandising officer role with responsibility for the vision, leadership, strategic direction and performance of all Walgreens merchandising activities.
His most recent role was chief of staff to Roz Brewer, CEO, VP of Walgreens Boots Alliance. Prior to that, he was group VP, owned brands and customer experience for Walgreens. In this role, Rauch led the owned-brands strategy in the United states and was instrumental in defining Walgreens’ retail customer experience. Rauch’s previous Walgreens leadership roles included VP, commercial strategy and senior director, insights.
Lastly, Visalatha is joining Walgreens in the newly created role of chief product officer, in which capacity he will lead the execution of Walgreens customer product strategy and development, along with user experience. In this role, Visalatha will look across product lines and functions to ensure that all product solutions are aligned to the customer strategy.
Visalatha’s organization will work cross-functionally, rooted in research, analysis and an in-depth knowledge of the entire customer product lifecycle within the portfolio. Most recently, Visalatha was VP of eCommerce at Walmart U.S., where he helped launch the new Walmart app and website, creating a unified omnichannel experience for customers. Visalatha has over 15 years of experience in leading and building products to drive transformation with some of the world’s largest consumer brands, among them Walmart, Sam’s Club and American Express.
Walgreens operates nearly 9,000 retail locations across the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, serving about 9 million customers daily.