DEERFIELD, Ill. — Three longtime members of Walgreen Co.’s board of directors will step down next month, including Charles R. (Cork) Walgreen III, the grandson of the company’s founder.
Plans call for Walgreen, Cordell Reed and Marilou von Ferstel to retire at the drug store chain’s annual shareholders meeting on January 13.
Walgreen served on the board for 46 years. He began working for the company as a stock boy in 1952, quickly moved up the ladder and joined the board in 1963. He was named the company’s chief executive officer in 1971 and chairman in 1976.
During his tenure Walgreen brought the company back to its pharmacy roots, divesting its freestanding restaurants and other noncore businesses.
In the 1990s he made the decision to pull stores out of shopping centers and onto convenient corner locations.
Walgreen retired as CEO in 1998 after 23 consecutive years of record growth, six stock splits and an increase in the company’s market capitalization from $164 million to $19 billion under his leadership.
Reed has served on Walgreens’ board of directors since 1994. He retired as a senior vice president of Commonwealth Edison Co. in 1997 after 37 years with the company.
A Walgreens board member since 1987, von Ferstel, was formerly executive vice president and general manger of Ogilvy Public Relations Worldwide, retiring from that position in 1997.
She is also the first woman to have ever been elected to the Chicago City Council.
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