Incoming CVS/pharmacy president Mark Cosby is a good fit with the chain, industry analysts say.

CVS/pharmacy, Mark Cosby, Macy’s, CVS/pharmacy president, Larry Merlo, CVS Caremark, Sanford Bernstein & Co., Helene Wolk, Frank Morgan, RBC Capital Markets, Geoff Walden

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Cosby seen as valuable addition for CVS

September 12th, 2011

WOONSOCKET, R.I. – Incoming CVS/pharmacy president Mark Cosby is a good fit with the chain, industry analysts say.

Cosby, 52, who was president of stores for Macy’s Inc., will take the helm at the CVS Caremark Corp.’s retail pharmacy unit on October 1. He succeeds Larry Merlo, who led the drug store business before being promoted to CVS Caremark president and chief operating officer last year and then assuming the chief executive officer post in March.

Macy’s has reached a level of maturity to which drug chains are likely headed, based on their slowdown in new store development, notes Sanford Bernstein & Co. analyst Helene Wolk. So Cosby’s experience suits his new position, she says.

“I view Larry Merlo as a strong retail operator, and the addition of Mr. Cosby looks to increase an already strong bench,” Wolk adds.

Frank Morgan, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets LLC, comments, “From what I understand, [Cosby] has a lot of experience, both operationally and in strategic planning. People who know him well say he should be a very valuable addition — a good, strong leader who should be very complementary to a good operating team on the retail side at CVS.”

As president of CVS/pharmacy, Cosby will oversee all aspects of the retail business, including more than 7,200 stores, 19 distribution centers and an award-winning e-commerce site as well as retail merchandising, supply chain, marketing, real estate, front store and pharmacy ­operations.

“We’re delighted that Mark is joining our team,” says Merlo. “His valuable experience at major retailers in operations and strategic planning makes him an excellent choice to lead our retail business going forward.

“I am confident that Mark will bring a strong vision, great energy and new ideas to CVS/pharmacy as we continue to refine our model and introduce innovations that position us for ongoing success and industry leadership,” he adds.

As president of stores at Macy’s starting in February 2009, Cosby was responsible for all store operations and support functions nationwide, as well as for overseeing stores in the Northeast and Mid-Atlantic.

He joined then-parent company Federated Department Stores in July 2006 as senior vice president for property development. Ten months later he was appointed as president and chief operating officer of Macy’s East.

Earlier in his career Cosby was president of full-line stores at Sears Roebuck & Co., chief operations officer of KFC Corp., and chief development officer of Yum Brands, the restaurant company that was spun off from PepsiCo in 1997. He began his career as a financial analyst for General Foods Corp.

“I am looking forward to this exciting new role,” says Cosby. “My passion for the customer and broad retail experience have helped to prepare me for this, and I am honored to lead this talented team of retail executives.

“What makes CVS/pharmacy extraordinary is its unique ability to improve the lives of millions of Americans by providing easy, innovative solutions and personalized pharmacy health care at their neighborhood drug store,” he says. “I am committed to driving profitable growth and furthering our retail leadership position.”