Rosalind Brewer Becomes The Only Black Woman To Lead A Fortune 500 Company


Walgreens has tapped Starbucks executive Rosalind Brewer to become their next chief executive officer. Brewer will take over for current Walgreens CEO Stefano Pessina who has guided the company for six years as they navigated a merger with Alliance Boots in 2014. Pessina will now work as the executive chairman of the Alliance Boots board.

“The Board conducted an extensive search to identify an exceptional leader who will build on WBA’s track record of success and take advantage of the many growth opportunities in many markets across the company. We are excited to have found that person in Roz,” Pessina stated.

“She is a distinguished and experienced executive who has led organizations globally through periods of changing consumer behavior by applying innovation that elevates customer experiences – ultimately driving significant and sustainable growth and value creation. Her relentless focus on the customer, talent development, operational rigor and strong expertise in digital and technological transformation is exactly what WBA needs as the company enters its next chapter. I look forward to working with Roz, and to continuing to partner with Jim and the entire Board and management team to take our company forward.”

Brewer is not new to executive roles such as these. After graduating from Spelman College, Brewer started her career as a scientist at Kimberly-Clark Corp. before climbing up the ranks and becoming president. She went on to work as the president of Sam's Club before landing at Starbucks. At Starbucks, Brewer worked as the chief operating officers. While there, she helped improve diversity at the managerial level and expand their rewards program.

“WBA is a world-class and trusted organization whose purpose I deeply admire,” Brewer said.

“The healthcare industry is constantly evolving, and I am excited to work alongside the entire WBA team as we deliver further innovation and positively impact the lives of millions of people around the world every day. This is especially true today as the company plays a crucial role in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. I step into this role with great optimism for the future of WBA, a shared responsibility to serve our customers, patients and communities, and a commitment to drive long-term sustainable value for shareholders.”

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