Glenn Kraiss, retired executive vice president of store operations for Walgreen Co., died Friday at age 79.

Walgreens, Glenn Kraiss, executive vice president of store operations, Greg Wasson, Charles R. Walgreen III, Walgreens' drug store operations

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Walgreens mourns passing of longtime store exec

January 21st, 2013

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Glenn Kraiss, retired executive vice president of store operations for Walgreen Co., died Friday at age 79.

A Walgreens spokesman said Monday that Kraiss' career with the drug chain spanned 50 years to his retirement in 1999. He resided in Fountain Hills, Ariz., during his retirement.

"Glenn was instrumental to Walgreens' success during a period of terrific growth for the company," Walgreens president and chief executive officer Greg Wasson said in a statement. "During his 50-year career, he was a friend to co-workers around the country, a true leader for our store operations division and a mentor to more Walgreens folks than he may have realized."

Kraiss joined Walgreens in 1949, working the soda fountain in a Chicago store while still in high school. He worked his way through college and then pharmacy school, rising through the ranks to hold such positions as store manager, district manager and regional vice president.

From 1978 until his retirement, Kraiss had responsibility for all of Walgreens' drug store operations. During that 21-year period, the chain nearly quadrupled in store count and grew sales from just over $1 billion to $15 billion in fiscal 1998, according to the company.

Kraiss was a 1956 graduate of the University of Illinois pharmacy school. In 1998, he was one of four recipients of the University of Illinois Alumni Achievement Award, the highest award given by the alumni association.

In speaking of Kraiss, Charles R. Walgreen III, retired chairman of Walgreens, recalled appointing him in 1978 to fill the critical position of leading the store operations division. Walgreen said, "Glenn was an outstanding executive and key to the company's turnaround and success."

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