Walgreens Snags Starbucks' Rosalind Brewer, Making Her the Fortune 500's Only Black Female CEO

George PaulExecutive Moves

Roz Brewer speaks onstage during the Starbucks Annual Meeting of Shareholders in March 2019. Image credit: Starbucks

Come March 15, 2021, Walgreens Boots Alliance will have a new top executive, Rosalind (Roz) Brewer, who has been named as the company’s next CEO and a member of its Board of Directors. As it currently stands, when Brewer assumes her new post she will be the only Black woman leading a Fortune 500 company.

Brewer replaces Stefano Pessina who is taking over the Executive Chairman prosition currently held by James Skinner. Skinner will remain on the board as a non-executive director to ensure a smooth transition.

As CEO, Brewer will bring deep experience at multi-national corporations, where she has led strategic development, marketing, digital transformation and loyalty, innovation and technology, supply chain, and store development.

Most recently, Brewer served as Chief Operating Officer, Group President, and board member at Starbucks. Before joining the coffee giant, she spent over a decade at Walmart. She initially joined the retail titan in 2006 as a regional vice president and worked her way up to be the CEO of Sam’s Club, Walmart's members-only warehouse. Before her time at the world's largest retailer, she spent 22 years with Kimberly-Clark for 22 years.

Brewer has also served as a director of Amazon, Lockheed Martin, and Molson Coors. She also chairs the board of trustees at Spelman College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry.

“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,” Brewer said in a press release. “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.”

Walgreens Boots Alliance will need Brewer’s deep retail experience as it looks to rebound from the effects of COVID-19, which has led to a lower in-store foot traffic, sales of cough, cold, and flu medications, and new prescriptions.

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