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Roz Brewer announces sudden departure as CEO of Walgreens

September 2, 2023
Life sciences

After less than three years in her top spot at Walgreens Boots Alliance, Roz Brewer is moving on.

In a LinkedIn post this morning, Rosalind (“Roz”) Brewer said she is stepping down as CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance. Calling it “one of the most difficult notes” she’s ever had to write, Brewer said she and the company’s board came to the “mutual decision” that she would leave the top spot.

“This decision did not come without great consideration for what is best for all of you, our shareholders, customers, patients, and my family. In the near-term, I will continue to advise the Board as they search for a permanent CEO with healthcare expertise,” Brewer wrote.

In a statement released this morning, Walgreens announced the leadership transition and listed several of Brewer’s achievements as CEO including “cost savings,” creating a “safe operating model for store labor,” helping to roll out COVID-19 vaccines and more.

Ginger Graham, current lead independent director, will take over as interim CEO while the company searches for a permanent CEO.

Neither Brewer nor Walgreens offered additional details about her sudden departure.

In a LinkedIn post from yesterday, Brewer described meeting with Walgreens leaders to “align on next steps” in the company’s “healthcare transformation.”

“Our new fiscal year begins Friday, and I’m excited for what’s to come!” Brewer wrote.

Brewer’s departure marks the second major executive shakeup at the company this year, after chief financial officer James Kehoe left in June. The company is still searching for a permanent replacement.

Since stepping into the CEO position in 2021, Brewer has been an instrumental force in Walgreens’ efforts to launch a new clinical trials business within its thousands of storefronts. Both Walgreens and its chief rival, CVS, formed several partnerships in the last few years aimed at building out the needed infrastructure to conduct research studies.

But in May, CVS announced plans to abandon its clinical trials endeavor, saying it no longer aligned with “long-term strategic priorities.”

Although the CVS announcement raised concerns that other pharmacy retail giants would follow suit, Walgreen’s chief clinical trials officer, Ramita Tandon, told PharmaVoice at the time that it was still fully “committed” to its efforts to get studies off the ground.

According to the Wall Street Journal, share prices for Walgreens have plummeted by 50% in the last two years, while CVS has only fallen by about 25%.

Brewer, a 2022 PharmaVoice 100, is considered one of the most influential women executives and last year, was No. 7 of Forbes’ “50 most powerful women in business” list.

By Meagan Parrish


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