Pharmaca said Monday that the 56-year-old Willis, who most recently served as the president and CEO of SpeedCommerce, also joins the board of directors.
“I am excited for the opportunity to lead this outstanding senior management team and group of hard-working, talented employees. I look forward to a new chapter of growth for Pharmaca,” Willis said in a statement. “The company’s exceptional reputation of providing high levels of customer service while creating a best-in-class product offering and store environment has provided it with a strong market position. This is a terrific opportunity that any leader would welcome.”
Willis takes the CEO reins following the departure of Mark Panzer, who in mid-May was announced as senior vice president of pharmacy, health and wellness at AB Acquisition LLC, the parent company of food and drug chains Albertsons and Safeway.
Pharmaca noted that Willis brings more than 25 years of executive experience in retail, distribution and publishing. Before SpeedCommerce, he served as executive chairman of retailer Charlotte Russe and CEO for a number of companies, including Baker & Taylor, Troll Communications and Bell Sports. His career also includes experience as the chief financial officer of several magazine companies, including Petersen Publishing, which he helped take public.
“After a comprehensive search process, the board is pleased to have found such an experienced and talented individual to assume the leadership of Pharmaca,” stated Peter Cornetta, lead director and managing general partner of Highland Consumer Partners. “Richard has a strong track record of creating value for shareholders. This combined with his retail and distribution industry knowledge makes Richard uniquely qualified to successfully lead Pharmaca into the future.”
Overall, the retailer operates 28 Pharmaca Integrative Pharmacies and two Pharmaca Wellness & Natural Beauty stores in California, Colorado, New Mexico, Oregon and Washington.
“Richard has been a successful executive in a number of private-equity backed situations,” Cornetta added, “and he is a great fit with each of the critical leadership competencies that we evaluated as part of our selection process. We’re very pleased that he has accepted the position.”