WALGREENS CEO STEPPING DOWN, WILL BE EXECUTIVE CHAIR
Walgreens’ Stefano Pessina will step down as CEO and become executive chairman once the drugstore chain finds a replacement for him.
The current executive chairman, former McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner, will remain on the board after Pessina takes over.
The company announced no time frame Monday in finding a successor to the 79-yearold Pessina.
Pessina told Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. board members in a letter dated July 23 that he has thought about stepping down “for some time, but for the reasons the Board knows, the time was not right to do so.”
In the letter, he said he thought now was the right time to find a successor.
The leadership changes didn’t surprise Edward Jones analyst John Boylan, who noted Pessina’s age. But the analyst said the fact that no new CEO was immediately named came as a “modest surprise.”
Boylan said he thinks there’s an opportunity for Walgreens, based in north suburban Deerfield, to hire someone from outside the company to bring in fresh ideas. But he also said that Pessina will still hold considerable sway as one of the company’s largest shareholders.
Pessina has a stake of more than 16%, according to FactSet.
The change in leadership comes a couple weeks after Walgreens announced a huge quarterly loss and a major business pivot.
Walgreens posted a $1.7 billion loss in the quarter that ended May 31 with millions of people sheltering at home due to the rapidly spreading COVID-19 pandemic.
Walgreens was particularly hurt in the quarter by plunging sales from its Boots stores in the United Kingdom.
The chain also announced this month that it will squeeze primary care clinics into as many as 700 of its U.S. stores over the next few years in a bid to play a greater role in managing customer health.
Walgreens runs more than 9,200 stores in the United States and has more than 18,750 locations internationally.
Pessina has been CEO since 2015, after Walgreens combined with European health and beauty retailer Alliance Boots to create the current company.
Shares fell more than 1% Monday to $39.84.
Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Stefano Pessina, 79, says in a letter he has thought about stepping down “for some time.” He has a stake of more than 16% of the Deerfield-based company.