Roz Brewer, one of only two black female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, resigned as CEO of the Walgreens Boots Alliance on Friday. She will be replaced on an interim basis by longtime board member and pharmaceutical industry executive Ginger Graham. That means two of Walgreens’ top jobs will be filled by executives with interim titles.former chief financial officer james kehoe leave walgreens in august He will be replaced by Global Chief Financial Officer Manmohan Mahajan until the company finds a permanent replacement.
Graham has served on the Board since 2010 and was appointed the Board’s Lead Independent Director in October 2022, a role considered critical in managing the relationship between the Board, its Chairman and its stakeholders. Stefano Pessina will continue as executive chairman of Walgreens.
Graham has all the makings of a corporate American leader: a Harvard MBA (’86), multiple CEO roles, and a prestigious board seat. She is also a healthcare veteran with extensive experience in the notoriously complex industry, from developing new drugs at a pharmaceutical company to helming a global medical technology manufacturer to leading a healthcare consulting firm.
In a statement announcing the leadership change, Pessina said, “Ginger is an ideal candidate to serve as interim CEO given her leadership experience across multiple areas of the healthcare industry, her in-depth knowledge of the WBA and her strong operational skills.”
Walgreens declined to comment beyond a published press release.
Graham’s healthcare experience comes at a critical time for Walgreens, which is trying to expand beyond its core pharmaceutical business. Under Brewer’s leadership, the company made several multibillion-dollar acquisitions, expanding its business into urgent care, primary care and specialty pharmaceuticals. Wall Street’s push for expansion, however, has been so lukewarm that, on an investor call in January, executives had to reassure investors: M&A will take a backseat In the near future, the company will focus on integrating its newly acquired businesses into Walgreens.
Brewer’s departure, while not entirely unexpected, was sudden because she was the architect of Walgreens’ healthcare expansion strategy. “With the growth of Walgreens’ healthcare division gaining traction … it makes sense to lay off staff and find a new leadership team with a broader background in healthcare delivery,” Evercore analysts said. Reuters.
Most of Brewer’s experience has been in retail, with her previous positions at Starbucks and Walmart. “Health care is not Ms. Brewer’s strong suit,” a managing director at consulting firm GlobalData told the media. New York Times.The company’s financial results also underwhelmed, sending its shares tumbling. 11-year low in May.
Graham said she will seek to stabilize the company as it begins its search for a permanent chief executive. “My focus will be on our people and operations, working together to drive shareholder value creation and ensuring a smooth transition as we identify our future CEO,” she said in a statement.
Given that Kehoe left the company for fintech giant FIS Global weeks before Brewer did, she may also have to find a permanent chief financial officer.
Graham’s most recent experience, prior to his new interim role, was CEO of healthcare consulting firm Two Trees Consulting from 2007 to 2016. Before nearly a decade as a consultant, she worked in drug development as CEO of Amylin Pharmaceuticals, a company focused on diabetes drugs, from 2003 to 2007. One of the most notable FDA-approved drugs under Graham’s watch was the blood sugar control drug Byetta. It became so popular that Amylin had to ask doctors not to start patients on the drug until a new manufacturing facility was built because it couldn’t keep up with demand, New York Times report then.
Prior to developing and marketing diabetes drugs, Graham was chairman of Guidant Group, one of the leading manufacturers of cardiac medical devices such as pacemakers and stents. According to reports, her scope of responsibility is wide-ranging, responsible for overseeing the company’s operations in the United States, Europe, Japan and emerging markets. document Submit to the SEC. Guidant was formed after Eli Lilly spun off the Advanced Cardiovascular Systems (ACS) segment it then led. Graham got his first job after graduating from Eli Lilly Business School. Graham was one of the executives who took the lead in taking ACS public in 1994, under the new name Guidant.
In the early 2000s, she published several articles in the journal Science. Harvard Business Review. One of them, published in 2002, is titled “If you want to be honest, break some rules“seems to be the forerunner of today’s popular leadership style of empathy and transparency. When leaders focus on “top-down managerial control,” she writes, they end up creating an “opportunistic, blame-shifting environment.” and self-protective behavior”. She went on to encourage executives to “break some of the rules of traditional management” in order to build a better corporate culture. During this time, Guidant was named one of the wealth One of “America’s Best Companies to Work For” Industry Week “World’s 100 Best Managed Companies”. Another equally prescient, though perhaps more questionable, article Promote the importance of lobbying.
In 2008, Graham finally got a teaching position at Harvard Business School. While on campus, she taught courses at the Arthur Locke Center for Entrepreneurship.
Although Graham takes over as interim CEO, he will still have to deal with woes in the stock price. Walgreens shares have fallen 36% since the start of the year, including a 6.1% drop following Friday’s announcement of the CEO’s resignation.