- Newly-formed Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. named Stefano Pessina as its new permanent CEO on Thursday.
- Pessina was formerly chairman of European health and beauty retailer Alliance Boots before its merger with Walgreen Co. late last year. He had been serving as interim CEO at Walgreens after then-Walgreen CEO Greg Wasson retired in the wake of the merger.
- After initially buying 45% of the company in 2012, Walgreen bought the remaining stake in Alliance Boots for about $16 billion in cash and stock in December, creating the largest drugstore retail chain in the U.S and U.K.
The choice of Pessina as CEO is not a huge surprise, given his experience as chairman of Alliance Boots and interim CEO of Walgreens. Pessina will now preside over one of the world's largest pharmaceutical buyers and the largest drugstore chain in the U.S. and U.K., with over 13,200 stores in 11 countries.
Walgreens Boots Alliance seems to be faring well in its first few months under Pessina — the company announced earnings that exceeded Wall Street analysts' expectations on Thursday — and the leadership has taken notice.
"In Walgreens Boots Alliance's initial six months as a newly combined company, Stefano has done an extraordinary job leading the new enterprise, focusing on our strategy while enhancing our financial performance," Walgreens executive chairman James Skinner said in a statement. "In order to continue with 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."
Moving forward, it will be worth watching what Pessina does with Walgreens' in-store healthcare services, as multiple retailers continue to expand offerings like vaccines, wellness visits, and treatments for minor injuries. As customers begin to feel comfortable with receiving medical care outside of traditional doctors' offices and more retailers continue to provide and market these services, Walgreens may have to expand the convenience and availability of these offerings to remain competitive.