DEERFIELD, Ill. — The board of directors of drug store and pharmacy retailer Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. has named Stefano Pessina as CEO, effective immediately. He had been serving as acting CEO since January.
In his capacity as CEO, Pessina will continue reporting to Executive Chairman James Skinner.
“In Walgreens Boots Alliance’s initial six months as a newly combined company, Stefano has done an extraordinary job leading the new enterprise, focusing our strategy while enhancing our financial performance,” said Skinner. “The integration of Walgreens and Alliance Boots is proceeding exceptionally well, with Stefano’s vision for the company driving the organization forward. Through his leadership, our organization is meeting the challenges of combining our two companies, and many of the opportunities we anticipated from our strategic combination are now becoming a reality. In order to continue this momentum and to recognize the progress that is already being made, the board concluded Stefano is the very best person to achieve our vision to be a truly global health care champion, the first choice for pharmacy, health care and wellbeing across the world.”
The Deerfield, Ill.-based company previously announced a $1.5-billion cost savings program through the end of fiscal 2017. During the third quarter of fiscal 2015, the company made good progress, it said, with the program including reorganizing Retail Pharmacy USA field operations and continuing to optimize its corporate office; closing nine of a planned 200 U.S. stores, with approximately 70 to 80 additional closings planned by the end of the fiscal year
The Retail Pharmacy USA division, whose principal retail pharmacy brands are Walgreens and Duane Reade, had third-quarter sales of $20.4 billion, an increase of 5.3% over the year-ago quarter. Total sales in comparable drugstores (those open at least a year) increased 6.3% compared with the same quarter a year ago. Comparable drugstore retail sales increased 1.6% in the third quarter with an increase in basket size partially offset by lower customer traffic compared with last year’s third quarter.
The division opened or acquired 104 drugstores in the first nine months of fiscal 2015, including 34 relocations, and closed 37 locations. At 31 May 2015, the division operated 8,240 drugstores across all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.
Walgreens Boots Alliance is a global pharmacy-led, health-and-wellbeing enterprise created through the combination of Walgreens and Alliance Boots in December 2014. It has a presence in more than 25 countries; it is the largest retail pharmacy, health and daily living destination in the United States and Europe with more than 13,200 stores in 11 countries. Its portfolio of retail and business brands includes Walgreens, Duane Reade, Boots and Alliance Healthcare, as well as health-and-beauty-product brands, such as No7, Botanics and Soap & Glory.