Ex-Duane Reade CEO joins Walgreens Boots Alliance board

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DEERFIELD, Ill. — Former Duane Reade chairman and chief executive officer John Lederer has been elected to the Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. board of directors.

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John Lederer

Lederer is currently president and CEO of US Foods, a Rosemont, Ill.-based foodservice distributor. “It is a tremendous privilege to join the Walgreens Boots Alliance board as this new global enterprise for health and well-being moves forward with a very bright future,” he said in a statement.  “I am committed to working with the entire board and management to continue advancing customer and patient service the world over.”

Walgreens Boots Alliance said Wednesday that Lederer’s election to the board meets a provision of its nomination and support agreement with JANA Partners LLC. Under that agreement, announced last September, JANA Partners was entitled to recommend another independent director to the board, who would be approved by both companies.

“We are pleased to welcome John to the board of directors as we launch a new era of customer and patient service, growth and value creation for the combined Walgreens Boots Alliance,” Jim Skinner, executive chairman of Walgreens Boots Alliance, said in a statement.  “John’s successful record of leading and transforming major retail and wholesale companies, including Duane Reade and US Foods, will help Walgreens Boots Alliance realize its vision to be the first choice for pharmacy, well-being and beauty — caring for people and communities around the world.”

Lederer took the helm as president and CEO of US Foods in September 2010.  Previously, he was chairman and chief executive officer of Duane Reade, where he also led a major transformation to create a new urban drugstore format for New Yorkers, culminating in its strategic sale to Walgreens in 2010.  Lederer also enjoyed a highly successful 30-year-career at Loblaw Companies Limited, Canada’s largest food distributor, where he served in a variety of senior leadership positions including president from 2000 to 2006.  Lederer also serves on the board of directors of Restaurant Brands International Inc.

Previously, he served as chairman and CEO of Duane Reade. He joined the metropolitan New York drug chain in 2008 and led a companywide revitalization effort, leading to the chain’s $1.1 billion acquisition by Walgreen Co. in April 2010.

“We are fortunate to have John and his exceptional leadership experience in U.S. retail pharmacy and consumer and wholesale business on our board as Walgreens Boots Alliance pursues our ambition to build a global health care champion that is always close to our customers’ hearts and minds,” stated Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and acting CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance.

Before going to Duane Reade, Lederer spent 30 years at Loblaw Cos., Canada’s largest supermarket retailer and wholesaler. He held a number of leadership roles at Loblaw, including president from 2001 to 2006.

“As an experienced and successful retail and wholesale business leader, with a record of innovation to expand growth and unlock shareholder value, John will help contribute to the success of the Walgreens Boots Alliance global enterprise,” stated Barry Rosenstein, ounder and managing partner of hedge fund JANA Partners and a Walgreens Boots Alliance board member. “With his leadership and operational experience, strategic insight and proven ability to achieve results, John is an important addition to the board, and I look forward to serving with him.”


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