Linda Filler to step down as Walgreens top merchant

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DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (WBA) said Walgreens chief merchant Linda Filler is leaving the company on April 1.

Filler has agreed to serve in an advisory role beyond that date, the company said, and she plans to devote more time to her family and to accept an offer to join the board of another publicly traded company. Walgreens did not identify the company.

Linda Filler_Walgreens

Linda Filler

“We appreciate Linda’s contributions to our company,” Walgreens said in a statement. “Under Linda’s leadership, we have created a clear plan to accelerate our progress in retail products and, despite unfavorable market conditions, we’re seeing market share growth and improvement in customer satisfaction.”

Filler stepped into the newly created position of president of retail products and chief merchandising officer on January 1, 2015. At that time she was also named to a leadership team that was immersed in the pending merger with Alliance Boots GmbH, a deal that Walgreens’ then-chief executive officer Greg Wasson said was made to create “the first global pharmacy-led, health and well-being enterprise.”

Before coming to Walgreens Filler spent 15 months as president of teen retailer Claire’s Stores Inc. She resigned shortly after the surprise departure of its then-CEO Jim Fielding. Earlier, Filler served as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer at Sam’s Club, from 2007 to 2012, and led the Walmart warehouse club chain’s own-brand strategy.

Filler joined Sam’s from Kraft Foods Group Inc., where she served as executive vice president of global strategy and mergers and acquisitions, from 2004 to 2007. Prior to that, she was CEO of the Hanes Underwear and Socks Group at Hanesbrands Inc., from 2000 to 2003.

Filler graduated from North Texas State University with a master of science in accounting in 1982. She earned a master of business administration degree from Harvard Business School in 1989.

Walgreens is looking for a new chief merchant as WBA pursues the acquisition of Rite Aid Corp., the nation’s third-largest retail drug chain. WBA last month revised its offer for Rite Aid, slashing more than $2 billion from the purchase price and pushing the closing date back six months while it awaits regulatory approval.

The deal’s end date of February 3 has been extended to July 31 to give the companies more time to gain approval from Federal Trade Commission regulators.


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