“After a comprehensive search process, the board is pleased to have found such an experienced and talented individual to assume the leadership of Pharmaca,” said Peter Cornetta, lead director at Pharmaca and managing general partner of Highland Consumer Partners. “Richard has a strong track record of creating value for shareholders. This, combined with his retail and distribution industry knowledge, makes Richard uniquely qualified to successfully lead Pharmaca into the future.”
Willis takes the CEO reins following the departure of Mark Panzer, who in mid-May was announced as senior vice president of pharmacy, health and wellness at AB Acquisition LLC, the parent company of food and drug chains Albertsons and Safeway.
Willis has more than 25 years of executive experience in retail, distribution and publishing. Most recently he was president and CEO of SpeedCommerce. Before that, he served as executive chairman of retailer Charlotte Russe and CEO for a number of companies, including Baker & Taylor, Troll Communications and Bell Sports.
His career also includes experience as the chief financial officer of several magazine companies, including Petersen Publishing, which he helped take public.
Willis said he was excited about the opportunity to lead the company, which operates 28 Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacies and two Pharmaca Wellness & Natural Beauty stores in California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington.
“I look forward to a new chapter of growth for Pharmaca,” he said. “The company’s exceptional reputation of providing high levels of customer service while creating a best-in-class product offering and store environment has provided it with a strong market position. This is a terrific opportunity that any leader would welcome.”