Walgreens Names Starbucks, Walmart Veteran Brewer CEO

Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. named former top Starbucks, Sam’s Club and Walmart executive Rosalind (Roz) Brewer CEO, effective on March 15.

Brewer, who will join the Walgreens Boots board, succeeds Stefano Pessina, who will become executive chairman of the board.

Brewer brings a track record of leadership and operational expertise at multi-national corporations, with deep experience in strategic development, marketing, digital transformation and loyalty, innovation and technology, supply chain and store development, according to Walgreens.

Brewer most recently was Starbucks COO, group president and board member. Prior to joining Starbucks in 2017, Brewer was president and CEO of Sam’s Club, for which she is credited with growing membership, transforming merchandise and advancing the use of digital technology, according to Walgreens. Brewer joined Walmart in 2006 as regional vp, later becoming president of Walmart East. Prior to Walmart, she was with Kimberly-Clark Corp. for 22 years. She was first woman and first African American to lead a Walmart division, and is currently ranked #27 on Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business.

“(Brewer) is a distinguished and experienced executive who has led organizations globally through periods of changing consumer behavior by applying innovation that elevates customer experiences – ultimately driving significant and sustainable growth and value creation,” Pessino said. “Her relentless focus on the customer, talent development, operational rigor and strong expertise in digital and technological transformation are exactly what WBA needs as the company enters its next chapter.

Brewer said, “The healthcare industry is constantly evolving, and I am excited to work alongside the entire WBA team as we deliver further innovation and positively impact the lives of millions of people around the world every day. This is especially true today as the company plays a crucial role in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic.

Pessina served as the CEO of WBA for six years following the merger between Walgreens and Alliance Boots in December 2014. He is credited with transforming and modernizing the company, significantly expanding its retail footprint and investing in digitalization. Pessina will replace James Skinner as executive chairman of WBA. Skinner will remain on the WBA board as a non-executive director during the leadership transition.