Walgreens Boots Alliance promoted Richard Ashworth, a veteran of the company’s U.S. pharmacy operations, to become President of Walgreens following an operations role he had with the global pharmacy chain.
“Ashworth will be responsible for developing the strategies and plans for all Walgreens operations and will have full responsibility for the leadership, development and management of the business,” Walgreens said in a statement Wednesday morning.
Ashworth, a pharmacist and 28-year Walgreens veteran who started as a store services clerk in 1992, will report to Alex Gourlay, who remains co-chief operating officer of the parent Walgreens Boots Alliance. Gourlay, who has been President of Walgreens since 2014, “will focus on his broader responsibilities in his role as Co-Chief Operating Officer,” the company said Wednesday.
“Richard is a strong leader who grew up with the Walgreens brand and who has a great appreciation for its storied heritage,” Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance said in a statement.
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The decision to put a new executive in charge of Walgreens comes as the company is testing myriad new models to create what Pessina has called the “drugstore of the future.”
Walgreens has pilots or partnerships with the Kroger grocery chain to sell more food items in some U.S. stores while the drugstore chain is testing primary care concepts with the Chicago-based startup VillageMD and Humana’s Partners in Primary Care clinics for seniors. Walgreens strategy is in contrast with that of CVS Health, which bought the health insurer Aetna in 2018 and is rolling out “HealthHubs” in 1,500 markets in the next three years.
“He truly understands our customers and is passionate about the role we play in their daily lives,” Pessina said. “We are pleased to have Richard lead the Walgreens business, and lead the charge as we create the Walgreens of the future. His experience will be incredibly valuable as we continue to accelerate our ongoing transformation to best meet the needs of our customers, communities and team members.”