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Rite Aid strengthens top management team

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Pictured left to right: Jocelyn Konrad, David Abelman and Tony Montini of Rite Aid.

CAMP HILL, Pa. — In addition to Ken Martindale’s promotion to the newly created position of chief executive officer of Rite Aid Stores, Rite Aid Corp. has made three senior executive appointments.

Jocelyn Konrad has been promoted to executive vice president of pharmacy, David Abelman has been promoted to the new position of executive vice president of marketing, and chief merchant Tony Montini has added responsibility for distribution. All three report to ­Martindale.

Konrad, who had been group vice president of pharmacy services, succeeds Robert Thompson, who will retire effective September 18, wrapping up a 38-year career in pharmacy, including 11 years in a variety of management roles at Rite Aid.

Konrad began her career in 1992 as a pharmacist for Thrift Drug and later was promoted to district pharmacy supervisor. In 1997 she joined Eckerd Corp. as a pharmacy district manager, a role she subsequently filled for Brooks Eckerd Pharmacy after its acquisition of part of the Eckerd Corp. store base.

She joined Rite Aid in the same position in 2007, after it acquired the Brooks-Eckerd stores from the Jean Coutu Group. In 2011 she was promoted to regional pharmacy vice president, with responsibility for 150 pharmacies in Pennsylvania, Maryland and Washington, D.C. The following year she was named vice president of health care initiatives, and she was promoted to group vice president of pharmacy services at the end of 2014.

“The expanding role of the pharmacist has ultimately changed my responsibilities,” said Konrad. “As a pharmacist and a field leader, my focus in the early days was primarily on delivering great customer service and ensuring the safe dispensing of medications. But the evolution of pharmacy over the past six years has brought me closer to the clinical services side, because that truly is the future of pharmacy. Our pharmacists will continue to play a more important role in the health and wellness of our patients and the entire health care system.”

Abelman joined Rite Aid in April 2014 as senior vice president of brand development and innovation. In that role, he was responsible for managing the ongoing development of Rite Aid brand products as well as identifying and executing innovations to enhance and grow the retailer’s business.

Before joining Rite Aid, Abelman most recently was chief executive officer and cofounder of Self-Health Nation, a health and wellness omnichannel provider of nutritional advice and solutions. Before that, he served as executive vice president and chief merchandising and marketing officer at A.C. Moore Arts and Crafts. He also held senior level marketing and merchandising posts with Michaels Stores Inc., Office Depot Inc. and Daymon ­Worldwide.

John Learish, senior vice president of marketing, continues to lead Rite Aid’s retail marketing team and reports to Abelman.

Montini’s responsibility for distribution was added to his position as executive vice president of merchandising.
Montini, who was honored as Merchant of the Year for 2014 by Chain Drug Review, returned to Rite Aid in 2010 as senior vice president of category management. He had previously served at Rite Aid as vice president of purchasing from 1987 to 1989 and as senior vice president of category management from 2002 to 2003. He was promoted to executive vice president of merchandising in 2011.

His retail experience also includes serving as senior vice president and general merchandise manager for the drug store business at Kmart.

Montini has led the development of Rite Aid’s wellness store format, which he says he is determined to keep from calcifying into an unchanging, one-size-fits-all prototype. “In this business, one never attains the ultimate goal,” he said. “There’s always the next thing that needs to be done.

“Competition is very stiff, and it’s not just drug stores: Our competitors are mass, club, grocery, dollar stores. So we have to constantly strive to be meaningfully different and better for the consumer.”

Wilson Lester, senior vice president of supply chain, continues to oversee the Rite Aid distribution network, reporting to Montini.


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