Walgreens Boots Alliance billionaire boss steps down as CEO

After five years with the company, Stefano Pessina will transition into a new role as Executive Chairman, taking over from James Skinner

The CEO of retail giant Walgreens Boots Alliance, Stefano Pessina, has stepped down after five years with the firm.

Pessina joined the company as Executive Vice Chairman in 2015, following the merger between Walgreens and Alliance Boots in December 2014, before taking up the top role in July the same year.

The 79-year-old billionaire will assume the role of Executive Chairman from James Skinner, when a new CEO is appointed.

“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 CEO in every way possible.

Walgreens Boots Alliance is responsible for Walgreens and Duane Reade chains in the US, Boots in the UK and Alliance Healthcare under its pharmaceutical umbrella.

Stefano Pessina and James Skinner

Commenting on his departure, Skinner added: “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.

“Together, we have built our company into a global leader in retail and wholesale pharmacy.”

He added: “As the healthcare industry and consumer behaviour continue to advance quickly, we look forward to a new CEO joining the team with the deep expertise and skill set to drive future success as we move into a new chapter of our company’s very long and proud history.”

Earlier this month, Walgreens announced disappointing sales, mainly from its non-US businesses, due to the coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, Boots slashes 4,000 of its workforce, while Walgreen Boots Alliance said it anticipates adverse sales will impact the business by US$700-$750m in the third quarter.

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