Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO to step down

David Salazar
Managing Editor
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Stefano Pessina

Walgreens Boots Alliance is making way for a new CEO. The company announced Monday that CEO and executive vice chairman Stefano Pessina would be stepping down as CEO to kick off the search for a new chief executive for the Deerfield, Ill.-based company that operates Walgreens in the United States and Boots UK overseas and in more than 25 countries. 

Once the new CEO is found, Pessina will assume the role of executive chairman and current executive chairman James Skinner will step down while remaining on the board to ensure a smooth transition. The company said the leadership shuffle is meant to help drive progress on its strategic priorities and position the business for the future as the healthcare environment continues to change. Pessina has been at the helm of WBA since shortly after Walgreens merged with Alliance Boots at the end of 2014. In early 2015 he was named executive vice chairman and was interim CEO before being confirmed in the role in July 2015. Skinner has been WBA’s executive chairman since January 2015.

James Skinner

“It has been an enormous privilege to work with Stefano, the board of directors and all our employees during my time as executive chairman. I am deeply grateful for the opportunity, as well as the chance to continue to serve as a board member in the future.” Skinner said. “Together, we have built our company into a global leader in retail and wholesale pharmacy. As the healthcare industry and consumer behavior continue to advance quickly, we look forward to a new CEO joining the team with the deep expertise and skillset to drive future success as we move into a new chapter of our company’s very long and proud history.” 

Since Walgreens and Alliance Boots merged, with Pessina and Skinner leading the company, it has adapted and grown into a global leader in retail and wholesale pharmacy. With its equity investments, WBA has a presence in more than 25 countries and has more than 440,000 employees and more than 18,750 stores. Its distribution network includes more than 40 distribution centers supplying more than 115,000 pharmacies, doctors, health centers and hospitals annually. In recent years, the company has been focused on building strategic partnerships, including with such companies as Microsoft, Adobe, Kroger, VillageMD, Aspen Dental and others. 

“I want to thank our team members around the world for their extensive achievements in the last five years, as we have fulfilled our purpose to help people lead healthier and happier lives,” said Pessina. “I look forward to continuing to serve the company as executive chairman, and to helping to ensure the success of the new chief executive officer in every way possible. I am also very glad that Jim and I will continue to work together on the board, and on behalf of the entire company, we greatly appreciate all his contributions during his time as executive chairman.”