Walgreens names veteran health-care executive Tim Wentworth as next CEO

Walgreens Boots Alliance, one of the largest pharmacy chains in the United States, has announced the appointment of Tim Wentworth as its new chief executive. Wentworth, a seasoned healthcare executive, brings a wealth of experience to the role, having previously served as the CEO of Express Scripts, the nation’s largest pharmacy benefits management company.

Wentworth’s decision to join Walgreens was driven by the opportunity to lead an iconic brand during a transformative period. Recognizing the company’s massive platform, which touches the lives of nearly 10 million people daily, Wentworth aims to steer Walgreens towards becoming a provider of comprehensive health services beyond the traditional pharmacy counter.

Taking the reins from former CEO Roz Brewer, who departed in August, Wentworth will assume his new position on October 23. He steps into the role at a time when Walgreens faces various challenges in integrating and scaling its recent acquisitions, including primary care provider VillageMD, specialty pharmacy provider Shields Health, and homecare provider CareCentrix. These strategic moves, while promising, have put pressure on the company’s earnings.

Furthermore, the transition coincides with a decline in pharmacy revenue due to reduced demand for COVID-19 vaccines and over-the-counter tests. In June, Walgreens reported third-quarter profits that fell short of Wall Street estimates for the first time in three years. To address these challenges, the company’s board sought a leader with extensive healthcare experience who could effectively manage the expansion of new services while optimizing operational efficiency.

Wentworth’s background at Express Scripts, renowned for its focus on driving out waste from healthcare, positions him well to tackle these issues. He emphasizes the importance of cost structure optimization within the company, acknowledging the need to align Walgreens’ operations with its customer-centric healthcare vision.

Stefano Pessina, Walgreens’ executive chairman, expressed confidence in Wentworth’s ability to lead the company’s next phase of growth. Pessina highlighted Wentworth’s profound expertise in the payer and pharmacy space, as well as his knowledge of supply chain management, IT, and human resources. This comprehensive skill set makes Wentworth an ideal candidate to guide Walgreens towards becoming a customer-centric healthcare company.

While Walgreens focuses on expanding its health services, the company’s core pharmacy business faces its own set of challenges. Non-union pharmacists in several cities recently staged walkouts to protest understaffing, citing concerns about patient safety. Wentworth acknowledges the need for continuous improvement and assures that Walgreens’ leadership is attentive to the concerns raised by employees. He believes in fostering a supportive environment where every employee feels empowered to fulfill the company’s mission.

As Walgreens prepares to announce its fourth-quarter earnings, the appointment of Tim Wentworth as CEO instills confidence in the company’s future. With his extensive experience and strategic vision, Wentworth is poised to lead Walgreens through its transformation into a leading provider of comprehensive healthcare services.

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