Rite Aid CEO Departs and Ailing Drug Store Chain Names Interim Leader

Rite Aid has appointed an interim CEO as the company deals with a “dynamic environment.”

Elizabeth “Busy” Burr, a member of the company’s board of directors, takes on the role effective immediately and replaces Heyward Donigan, who has left the company after serving as president and CEO since August 2019, Rite Aid said in a Monday (Jan. 9) press release.

“As the company continues its efforts to enhance its competitive position in this dynamic environment, the board determined and Heyward agreed that now is the right time to identify the next leader of the business,” Rite Aid Chairman Bruce Bodaken said in the release.

Burr has extensive experience in the health industry, having previously served as vice president, head of health ventures and chief innovation officer at Humana and president and chief commercial officer at Carrot, according to the press release.

“With a deep understanding of the industry and our strategy, the board was unanimous in its belief that Busy is highly qualified to serve as interim CEO while the board conducts a search for a permanent successor,” Bodaken said in the release.

Burr has served as a director of Rite Aid since 2019.

“With Rite Aid’s well-established brand and its committed and talented team, I look forward to delivering on our business strategy and driving value for all our stakeholders,” Burr said in the release.

At the same time, Rite Aid reaffirmed its fiscal year 2023 guidance and a projection of a net loss between $584 million and $551 million, saying it will provide additional details in its next earnings report.

As PYMNTS reported in April, Rite Aid and its competitors have faced a slowdown from the COVID-fueled activities that had carried the industry for two years.

For its part, Rite Aid has announced that it plans to shrink its store count and reduce the density of its more than 2,200 locations

Further complicating the fight for consumers’ hearts and minds is that several non-core players, such as Walmart and Kroger, already have a large slice of the market that they are actively looking to grow.

The Philadelphia-based pharmacy chain has seen its stock drop 80% since a recent peak in Jan 2021, hauling its market value down to just $250 million. 

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