September 21, 2023

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Walgreens CEO Roz Brewer steps down

Walgreens’ board has appointed Ginger Graham, the company’s current lead independent director, as its interim CEO. Brewer will advise Walgreens as it searches for a permanent CEO, a role for which she will receive a monthly consulting fee of $375,000 through February 2024, according to a Walgreens U.S. Securities & Exchange Commission filing.

Brewer has also been given a separation and transition agreement that provides her with $9 million in cash severance, which is equal to two times the sum of her base salary plus her target annual bonus, according to the filing. She will also receive payment of any annual bonus earned in this current fiscal year and will vest in the remaining unvested portion of her long-term incentive package.

“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to lead Walgreens Boots Alliance and to work alongside such talented and dedicated colleagues,” Brewer, 61, said in the press release. “I am confident that (Walgreens) is on track to be a leading consumer-centric health care company, serving thousands of communities across the country, especially those that need access to health care the most.”

Brewer’s departure comes shortly after Chief Financial Officer James Kehoe announced in July that he was leaving for an opportunity in the technology sector.

Walgreens’ stock was down 5.6% late Friday morning. The company declined to comment further beyond its press release.

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“On behalf of the entire board, I would like to thank Roz for her contributions to WBA,” Walgreens Executive Chairman Stefano Pessina said in the press release. “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. We appreciate her hard work and commitment to the company during this period of unprecedented change.”

Brewer, Walgreens’ first Black and woman CEO, joined the company just as COVID-19 vaccines were becoming available to the public, making its pharmacies a key destination for many Americans seeking the vaccines. With more people in stores, Walgreens’ business saw a boost that has begun to falter as the pandemic subsides.

Brewer also joined Walgreens at a time when the company was embarking on a transformation to shift away from its traditional pharmacy retail roots and toward a health care company that offers primary care in its network of more than 8,000 stores. As part of the health care plan, Brewer oversaw Walgreens’ acquisitions of two assets, including post-acute and home care firm CareCentrix and specialty pharmacy Shields Health Solutions.

So far, the health care plan hasn’t paid off for Walgreens, which employs 325,000 people. The company missed Wall Street estimates and slashed its full-year profit forecast when it revealed its most recent earnings in June. Walgreens’ stock fell as much as 11% that day, the lowest level since late 2010 and the company’s biggest intraday loss since Nov. 17, 2020, when online retail giant said it would expand its push into U.S. prescription drug sales.

In today’s press release, Walgreens also disclosed that it expects its full-year 2023 adjusted earnings per share to be at or near the low end of its previously stated range of $4 to $4.05 a share. Walgreens’ next earnings call is expected to take place in mid-October.


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