Companies enter new era under direction of Stefano Pessina, John Standley
For 2015, the editors of Chain Drug Review have chosen to give the publication’s annual Retailer of the Year honors to two chain drug retail industry leaders: Stefano Pessina, executive vice chairman and CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., and the management team at Rite Aid Corp., led by chairman and CEO John Standley.
Pessina’s and Standley’s achievements are impressive, and both executives have been pivotal in widening the scope of their company’s business — Pessina on a global scale, and Standley in the arena of health care.
A savvy dealmaker, Pessina began with a family-owned drug distribution business in his native Italy; today, he runs one of the largest retail pharmacy, health and daily living destinations in the United States and Europe. At the end of last year, he pushed through the merger between Walgreen Co. and Alliance Boots, creating the new WBA, a company that operates in 25 countries and employs no fewer than 370,000 people around the world.
To really appreciate the true scale of Pessina’s achievements, one must consider the size of the business he has built — 13,100 retail pharmacies in 11 countries as well as a pharmaceutical wholesaler with a vast distribution network that delivers to more than 200,000 pharmacies, doctors, health centers and hospitals across 19 countries.
Meanwhile, the Rite Aid management team, led by Standley and Ken Martindale, CEO of Rite Aid stores and president of Rite Aid Corp., has brought health and wellness retailing to a higher level.
The drug chain’s recent addition of pharmacy benefit manager Envision Rx — plus the 2014 acquisitions of in-store clinic operator RediClinic and health coaching/analytics firm Health Dialog — bring its traditional pharmacy services into the bigger realm of retail health care. At the same time, a compelling store format and customer rewards program — the Wellness Store and wellness+ with Plenti — are establishing Rite Aid as a premier wellness destination for consumers and patients alike.