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Bartell Drugs names former REI COO as president

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SEATTLE — Brian Unmacht has been appointed as president of Bartell Drugs.

Brian Unmacht

The Seattle-area drug chain announced the move late Wednesday. Unmacht, a former executive vice president and chief operating officer of outdoor gear and apparel retailer REI (Recreational Equipment Inc.), has served on Bartell Drugs’ board since 2011.

"I am excited to start a new chapter of my career at Bartell Drugs. Growing up in Seattle, it represents a brand that I greatly admire," Unmacht said in a statement. "I respect the commitment of Bartell employees to serving our guests and the role our stores play in serving the health and wellness needs of the neighborhoods we serve."

According to Bartell Drugs chairman and chief executive officer George Bartell, Unmacht’s appointment supports future succession plans as the 63-store retailer — the nation’s oldest family-owned drug store chain — celebrates its 125th anniversary in 2015.

"Brian is an accomplished leader, with a great track record of success. He brings an excellent mix of leadership, operational experience, technical breadth and passion for exceptional guest service," Bartell stated. "Our senior leadership team has never been stronger, and Brian will play a key role in our long range planning and growth."

Bartell added, "His experience helping profitably grow REI will be a great asset."

During his 27-year career at REI, Unmacht also served as interim CEO when the retailer’s chief executive, Sally Jewell, was appointed U.S. secretary of the interior by the Obama Administration in 2013.

Bartell Drugs noted that it remains a family-owned business. George Bartell is the third member of the family to head the company, and Jean Bartell Barber is vice chairman and treasurer.

Meanwhile, the company said, members of the fourth generation are engaged in the succession transition, including Evelyn Barber, who is rejoining the organization upon completion of graduate school. Other members of the family are learning about the company’s operations during its 125th anniversary.


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