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Barra, Foulkes on most powerful women list

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NEW YORK — CVS Pharmacy president Helena Foulkes and Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. co-chief operating officer Ornella Barra were among those recognized by Fortune magazine as the “Most Powerful Women” in business for 2016.

Foulkes, who is also executive vice president of CVS Health, was ranked 12th on the list of 51 women in the United States, up from 14th last year. She is also the top retail executive on the list.

Fortune noted that Foulkes “led CVS Health’s retail business to new revenue heights — up 6.2%, to $72 billion — by gaining market share in total U.S. prescriptions filled.”

The magazine said that increase helped offset the sales hit caused by the company’s bold decision in 2014 to stop selling tobacco products in its drug stores. (Last year Foulkes was featured in a full-length article in Fortune with the headline, “She thanks you for not smoking.”)

CVS’ deal to buy Target Corp.’s pharmacies have provided another sales boost. Also cited by Fortune were such initiatives as the development of a mobile payment app and the revamp of the beauty departments in CVS Pharmacy stores.

Foulkes, 52, joined CVS in 1992 and was named to her current position in 2014.

Barra, who was promoted to the co-COO position in June, ranks 10th on the list of 50 women based outside the U.S., a list that spans 19 countries. (Last year’s list featured just 25 women.) Fortune notes that although WBA is based in Chicago, Barra is based in Europe.

Barra, who began her career as a pharmacist, took the position of president and chief executive officer of global wholesale and international retail at WBA when that company was formed by the 2014 merger of Walgreen Co. and Alliance Boots GmbH. In that position she was essentially responsible for the company’s entire international business.

With the realignment of WBA’s management structure in June, which saw Barra and Alex Gourlay, executive vice president at WBA and president of Walgreens, named co-chief operating officers, Barra’s responsibilities expanded and shifted. She took on oversight of WBA’s global brands, human resources and other business services, while Gourlay took responsibility for the Boots drug chain in the United Kingdom.

Other mass retail executives who made the U.S. list were Sam’s Club president and chief executive officer Rosalind Brewer (19th) and Walmart U.S. executive vice president and chief operating officer Judith McKenna (33rd).

Supplier executives on the list include Indra Nooyi, chairman and CEO of PepsiCo (2nd); Sandra Peterson, group worldwide chairman at Johnson & Johnson (27th); Carolyn Tastad, group vice president, North America, at Procter & Gamble Co. (37th); and Jennifer Taubert, company group chairman, Johnson & Johnson (45th).


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