Walgreens’ Pessina To Exit CEO Role; Will Move To Executive Chairman

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. CEO Stefano Pessina is stepping down, the company announced on Monday (July 27).

The 79-year-old executive, who became CEO five years ago, has been named executive chairman, and the former executive chairman James Skinner will exit that role. 

The Street reported that Pessina, who managed the combined U.S. and U.K. pharmacy businesses after their merger in 2014, will transition to the new role later this year. The company said it will begin the search for a new CEO right away.

“I want to thank our team members around the world for their extensive achievements in the last five years, as we have fulfilled our purpose to help people lead healthier and happier lives,” said Pessina in a statement. “I look forward to continuing to serve the company as executive chairman, and to helping to ensure the success of the new chief executive officer in every way possible. I am also very glad that Jim and I will continue to work together on the board, and on behalf of the entire company, we greatly appreciate all his contributions during his time as executive chairman.”

Walgreens’ stock has been off more than 31 percent this year. On Monday (July 27), the stock fell to $39.42, down from $40.51 at the close Friday, a 2.7 percent drop.

The stock has fallen 58 percent since Pessina became CEO in July of 2015, while the Dow Jones Industrial Average rose by nearly 50 percent during the same time frame.

This month, Walgreens reported disappointing third-quarter (Q3) earnings and also put its share buyback program on old, as global lockdowns took a toll on the retailer’s top and bottom line, The Street reported.

The company’s adjusted earnings for Q3 were 83 cents per share, down 43 percent from the same period last year and below analysts’ consensus estimates of $1.18 per share.

Group revenues rose 0.1 percent from last year to $34.6 billion, just ahead of analysts’ estimates of $34.3 billion, the company reported. Walgreens said its largest quarterly losses were from the U.K., where it does business under the Boots brand.