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Wal-Mart veterans Fehlig, Dufour join retail and health care consultancy

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Former Wal-Mart Stores Inc. executives Bob Dufour and Chuck Fehlig have joined retail, pharmacy and health care consulting firm Blue Ocean Innovative Solutions Inc.

Dufour takes the post of chief operating officer, and Fehlig serves as chief merchandising officer, said Blue Ocean founder, president and chief executive officer Bruce Painter, who also is a Wal-Mart veteran. Both executives also will be partners in Bentonville-based Blue Ocean, according to Painter.

After 24 years in Wal-Mart’s pharmacy operations, Dufour left the retail giant in September 2007, last serving as director of pharmacy, professional services and government affairs. During his tenure he helped Wal-Mart grow its pharmacy business from $100 million to more than $20 billion in annual sales and expanded its reach from 60 sites to over 3,700.

Painter said Dufour also has worked over the years with pharmaceutical companies on executing programs for compliance and persistence of branded products, accelerating sales of over-the-counter products, implementing professional educational programs, and executing consumer marketing. Dufour’s experience also includes work in establishing a national optical chain, a specialty pharmacy and operations of mail-order pharmacy.

A 27-year Wal-Mart veteran, Fehlig left the retailer earlier this year from his post as vice president and divisional merchandise manager for O-T-C merchandising. Under his direction, Wal-Mart’s O-T-C sales grew to exceed those of all U.S. drug chains combined.

The growth stemmed in part from sophisticated merchandising of nonprescription products, especially drugs that switched from prescription status. Wal-Mart under Fehlig earned a reputation for maximizing sales of such products. Fehlig also helped oversee a dramatic SKU rationalization of Wal-Mart’s O-T-C mix to accompany a departmental redesign.

Blue Ocean, which Painter launched in September 2007, provides consulting services for the pharmacy, retail and health care sectors in the areas of product development, packaging, pharmaceutical procurement and contract design, branding and marketing for O-T-C and prescription products, retail operations, product replenishment and regulatory compliance.

Painter spent 22 years in various roles in Wal-Mart’s pharmacy business. As pharmacy merchandise manager, he led the procurement team responsible for generating prescription sales of more than $12 billion for Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club pharmacies. Painter also helped establish the retailer’s hugely successful $4 generic drug prescription program.


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