Walgreens CEO Roz Brewer Steps Down, Successor Will Likely Have ‘Deep Health Care Experience’

Walgreens Boots Alliance (Nasdaq: WBA) CEO Roz Brewer has stepped down from her leadership position and the company’s board.

Brewer led the company during a period where it invested more in health care service delivery – including in-home care – than ever before. She took over in March 2021. Her exit is effective immediately.

“I am proud of what we accomplished together,” Brewer said in a statement. “We’ve improved the lives of our employees, expanded healthcare services for our customers and enhanced our ability to deliver on our purpose of ‘more joyful lives through better health.’ Over the past several years, we have recruited a world class team to WBA, including the first-ever chief customer officer and the first-ever president of U.S. Healthcare, and invested deeply in the improvement of the company’s overall culture.”


Walgreens said that the decision for Brewer to step down was a mutual one between her and the board.

Third-quarter sales increased 8.6% year over year in the fiscal third quarter, but the company lowered its guidance – mostly due to the U.S. Healthcare Services segment’s underperformance.

That segment is the one that has drawn a lot of attention of late. It includes Walgreens’ investments in the home-focused primary care provider VillageMD, as well as the post-acute technology platform CareCentrix.


“We are experiencing a slower profit ramp for U.S. Healthcare,” Walgreens CEO Roz Brewer said in July. “Importantly, we remain committed to our strategy through immediate actions to accelerate our path to profitability and to unlock long-term value. I remain confident in the long-term trajectory of our transformation.”

While Brewer was at the helm during a period of new investment for Walgreens, she also had to deal with losses stemming from the decreased popularity of COVID-19 vaccines.

It doesn’t appear, however, that Walgreens will pull back from its health care delivery strategy in the future. In fact, Walgreens board is looking for someone with “deep health care experience” to step into the CEO role.

Brewer came from Starbucks (Nasdaq: SBUX), where she served as COO and group president.

For the time being, Ginger Graham, the current lead independent director of Walgreens, will serve as interim CEO.

“On behalf of the entire board, I would like to thank Roz for her contributions to WBA,” Walgreens Executive Chairman Stefano Pessina said in a statement. “Roz navigated the company through the global pandemic, overseeing the critical rollout of vaccines in Walgreens pharmacies and to high-risk populations across the country. She furthered our consumer facing capabilities while supporting the culture of community and team-member engagement in difficult times.”

It’s possible that a leadership team with more health care experience may advance the company’s home-based health care initiatives even further.

“With WBA still in the midst of its healthcare-centric transformation, we view continued leadership uncertainty as adding to investor concerns,” JPMorgan analyst Lisa Gill wrote in a note. “Given the company’s focus on healthcare going forward, we would expect that either the new CEO and CFO (or preferably both) would have health care backgrounds.”

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