DEERFIELD, Ill. — Joe Magnacca, who was integral to the renaissance at Duane Reade before its purchase by Walgreen Co., has been named president of daily living products and solutions for Walgreens.
In the newly created position, Magnacca will oversee marketing and merchandising operations led by Walgreens chief marketing officer Kim Feil and chief merchandising officer Bryan Pugh. In addition, Magnacca will continue to lead Walgreens’ integration of Duane Reade, which it acquired last April.
Magnacca was promoted to president of Duane Reade last summer. In his expanded role at Walgreens, he will bring together the retailer’s marketing and merchandising functions to enhance and carry out the company’s strategy to be America’s first choice for health and daily living needs.
“We are bringing together and raising the profile of one of the strongest teams in retail to lead our marketing and merchandising efforts and enhance our daily living products business, much as we have already enhanced our pharmacy, health and wellness services and solutions business,” Walgreens president and chief executive officer Greg Wasson says. “Joe’s exceptional strategic market focus, combined with the leadership, experience and expertise that Kim and Bryan have brought to our marketing and merchandising operations, means we are now better positioned than ever to meet the daily living needs of our customers.
“In addition, the creative innovations and improvements that Joe brought to Duane Reade will now benefit and be extended across our entire organization.”
After joining Duane Reade in 2008 as senior vice president and chief merchandising officer, Magnacca helped transform what had been drab, functional outlets into pioneering urban formats, showcasing such concepts as the Look Boutique prestige beauty department.
In little more than a year, Magnacca put his stamp on the chain in a way equaled by few other retailers. New and remodeled Duane Reade units were all but unrecognizable to New York City shoppers.
Magnacca called the change “revolutionary, not evolutionary.” No one should discount “how different this model is from what our competitors offer in the U.S., and particularly New York,” he said. “It’s a huge departure.”
Magnacca set a tone that pervaded the merchandising department so that each new store became a wellspring of creativity. Merchants were challenged to increase productivity with each new space.
“They’re given a lot of latitude in terms of what they can choose and where to put it,” he said last year. “Every new store is an opportunity for the merchants to dial up or dial down something, take some risk, learn from it and apply it backward or forward as makes sense.”
The fresh sandwiches that were introduced at a remodeled store near Penn Station, for example, became a core category.
“Until you test an idea, there are no bad ideas,” Magnacca said. “And when you … take that attitude at the top, people throughout the company feel empowered to create change.”
Magnacca came to Duane Reade from Shoppers Drug Mart, where he had led marketing and merchandising initiatives since 2002. When he left, he was executive vice president of merchandising and category management. He earlier served as vice president of marketing and merchandising for Loblaw Cos.
Feil, who joined Walgreens in 2008, is leading a new marketing organization to respond to the evolving needs of the company’s customers and patients. “As chief marketing officer for health and daily living solutions, Kim will be responsible for not only all of our consumer marketing activities, including Duane Reade, but also our rapidly expanding business-to-business marketing efforts,” Wasson says.
Pugh joined Walgreens in 2009 and was named to his current position later that year.
“Bryan has forged one of the strongest merchandising teams in retail,” notes Wasson. “His leadership … will be even more important in the years ahead as we continue to enhance the customer experience at Walgreens.”
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