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McKesson Canada names new president

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Paula Keays takes over following exit of Alain Champagne

ST. LAURENT, Quebec — McKesson Canada has promoted pharmaceutical distribution chief Paula Keays to president.

Keays, senior vice president of pharmaceutical distribution and operations, takes the reins as president effective immediately, McKesson Canada said Monday. She fills the vacancy created by the late summer departure of Alain Champagne, who joined sales training and development firm Optimé International as a partner and chief executive officer.

Paula Keays_McKesson Canada

Paula Keays

In her new role, Keays will lead 4,000 employees and oversee McKesson Corp.’s distribution solutions offerings in Canada, including pharmaceutical distribution, pharmacy technology, specialty pharmacy and infusion, procurement and independent retail banner solutions. She will be responsible for driving sales, marketing and operations for the business and report to Paul Julian, executive vice president and group president at McKesson.

Plans call for Keays to continue to direct pharmaceutical distribution and operations until a new senior vice president for that role is appointed, the company said.

“I am honored to be taking on my new role as president of McKesson Canada,” Keays said in a statement. “Canada’s health care environment is becoming increasingly complex. Together with our people and our partners, I’m looking forward to leading through an important moment in our history as we focus on our customers to deliver better value and patient care for Canadians from coast to coast.”

As senior vice president pharmaceutical distribution and operations, Keays led one of McKesson Canada’s largest portfolios and oversaw sales, marketing and operations. The company noted that she advanced the division’s network optimization, helping to deliver significant operational efficiencies and improvements to the overall business. In addition, she drove the design and introduction of key sales and operations team initiatives that enhanced customer service and bolstered business partnerships.

Keays joined McKesson in 2000 and has since held positions of increasing responsibility, including vice president and corporate controller, vice president and chief financial officer, and senior vice president and chief financial officer and Six Sigma.

“I have worked alongside Paula for over 15 years. I’ve been impressed by her vision, drive and commitment to operational excellence,” Julian stated. “Our customers, business partners and employees will be well-served by her leadership style, deep understanding of health care and passion for customer service.”

Champagne became McKesson Canada’s president in July 2014, when he took the helm upon the appointment of Nick Loporcaro as president of McKesson Specialty Health. Prior to his promotion to president, Champagne had served as senior vice president of pharmaceutical distribution and operations since joining McKesson Canada in 2010.

Besides providing pharmacy distribution and related services, McKesson Canada has a national network of more than 1,700 independent pharmacies operating under the banners Guardian, I.D.A., Proxim, Medicine Shoppe Canada and Remedy’sRx.


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