Inside This Issue - News
Gourlay will lead Walgreens’ Daily Living business
September 9th, 2013
DEERFIELD, Ill. – Walgreen Co. has brought in new leadership and made several executive promotions within its Daily Living business. The moves came less than two months after president and chief executive officer Greg Wasson assured Wall Street that improving the chain’s front-end performance was a high priority.
The appointment of Alex Gourlay to the position of executive vice president and president of customer experience and daily living, effective October 1, also represents a step forward in the integration of Walgreens and Alliance Boots GmbH, which announced a phased strategic combination in June 2012. Gourlay is currently chief executive of the health and beauty division of Alliance Boots.
“Alex’s move to lead the Walgreens Daily Living and Merchandising team represents another important step forward, and is a key part of our cultural integration,” said Wasson in a statement. “At Walgreens, Alex will lead a strong Daily Living business team — which is already building momentum — to further advance our vision to be the first choice in health and daily living for everyone in America and beyond. As he gains more experience in the U.S. market, we will be better positioned than ever to accelerate our daily living journey by combining the best practices of both Walgreens and Alliance Boots. Alex’s new position is a clear testament to the positive progress we are making in bringing our two organizations together.”
In an interview with the Chicago Tribune, Wasson noted that Walgreens is following a path similar to Boots’ in developing its Daily Living business by putting more focus on beauty, health and daily living convenience items. Having made that journey already, he said, Gourlay is in a position to help Walgreens achieve the same kind of success.
In a research note, Goldman Sachs analyst Matthew Fassler gave a thumbs-up to Gourlay’s appointment, noting Boots’ strength in health and beauty. Gourlay has an opportunity, he wrote, to drive a turnaround in Walgreen’s front-end business by bringing a fresh perspective.
Stefano Pessina, executive chairman of Alliance Boots, paid tribute to Gourlay’s leadership. “Alex’s contribution to the success of Alliance Boots and its health and beauty division has been invaluable,” he said. “I am convinced that he will also make a huge difference in advancing the Walgreens/Alliance Boots strategic partnership, sharing his leadership and experience in driving excellent customer care and developing innovative product and service offerings. As a trusted pharmacy brand with a strong heritage, Walgreens’ consumer profile in the U.S. is remarkably similar to Boots in the U.K. We expect that further reciprocal appointments will follow over time as we increasingly work closely together.”
The leadership of the Daily Living team has been further modified by several promotions that will take effect October 1. They include:
• Bryan Pugh will become corporate vice president, U.S. merchandising program development and execution. This new role will bridge store operations and merchandising, encompassing oversight of the rollout of new merchandising initiatives, including operating standards, cross-functional deployment and rollout of Walgreens’ flagship stores.
• Moe Alkemade will take on the role of group vice president, global sourcing. Alkemade is credited with leading the restructuring and strong growth of Walgreens’ store brands portfolio as well as establishing the foundation for the company’s global sourcing capabilities. In his new position Alkemade will focus on optimizing global sourcing and Daily Living buying synergies with Alliance Boots and AmerisourceBergen Corp.
• Shannon Curtin has been promoted to group vice president and general merchandise manager, beauty. Curtin will be responsible for accelerating the development and growth of Walgreens’ beauty proposition and customer experience, especially in underserved markets, while collaborating with the Alliance Boots and global partnership teams to maximize opportunities in the U.S. for the Boots brand.
• Robert Tompkins has been moved up to group vice president and general merchandise manager, health and wellness. He has been tasked with accelerating development of innovative health and wellness products and programs for the U.S. while collaborating with the Alliance Boots and global partnership teams on joint program development.
• Jim Jensen, who is divisional merchandise manager of perishables, snacks and beverages, will take on the role of divisional vice president and general merchandise manager, seasonal and general merchandise. He will be responsible for providing high-level focus on seasonal daily living products and promotions designed to drive monthly sales.
• Beth Stiller has been given an expanded role in merchandising management as group vice president, category planning, formats and innovation. Her responsibilities will include category development, space planning, merchandise formats, program innovation and private brands.
• Joining the Walgreens Daily Living leadership team as divisional vice president of private brands is Linda Severin, who previously was with Kroger Co., where she led the redevelopment of its private brand portfolio.