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Walmart taps Riedl to run health, wellness

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BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Former longtime Walgreens executive George Riedl has been named president of health and wellness at Walmart.

He succeeds Labeed Diab, who left Walmart to join Brookdale Senior Living Inc. as chief operating officer.

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George Riedl

Riedl most recently was president of Advanced Marketing & Sales Inc., an independent sales, marketing and consulting agency focused on assisting consumer packaged goods companies. He was responsible for sales, marketing strategy and operations.

He spent 27 years at Walgreens, advancing from pharmacy apprentice to chief merchant. Riedl led such areas as e-commerce, third-party operations and contracts, and pharmaceutical purchasing. His roles included general merchandise manager of pharmacy, health and wellness, and executive vice president of merchandising and marketing. When he left the company at the end of 2009 he was senior vice president of pharmacy innovation and purchasing.

Riedl reports to Michelle Gloeckler, executive vice president of consumables, health and wellness at Walmart U.S. “Walmart welcomes George Riedl and is pleased to have an executive with his experience join our team,” said Gloeckler. “His combination of retail and extensive pharmacy and health care expertise will help us accelerate our leadership and impact in health and wellness.”

Reporting to Riedl will be senior vice president of health and wellness operations Paul Beahm; vice president of payer relations Marcus Osborne; vice president of clinics Sandy Ryan; vice president of pharmacy merchandising Mark Phillips; senior director of quality and clinical services Susanne Hiland; and senior director of illing and reconciliation Jeff Brown.

Walmart can be a bellwether for retail pharmacy, as when it launched $4 generics in 2006. More recently it introduced low-cost Care Clinics.

“Walmart is the only retailer in the U.S. that operates its own pharmacies, vision centers and Care Clinics, plus provides a comprehensive assortment of preventative and wellness products in categories ranging from grocery to electronics, sporting goods, home apparel and consumables, both in stores and online,” Gloeckler said.

Over the past year, the discounter added thousands of wellness products, and it plans to expand in areas including durable medical equipment, specialty prescriptions and active nutrition.

Another example of the discounter’s innovation in health care services is its collaboration with Directhealth.com to help customers identify health insurance needs, compare coverage options and enroll in the plan that’s right for them. The open enrollment program for customers, Healthcare Begins Here, is being offered through January 31 in more than 2,400 stores.

And the discounter has revamped the health and wellness page on Walmart.com. The site presents information on boosting immunity and living well with diabetes while highlighting products across many categories.

On the merchandising front, a new Walmart Supercenter in Royse City, Texas, features a Care Clinic, pharmacy and vision center laid out contiguously up front. And those departments are complemented with H&BA categories including O-T-Cs and cosmetics. “It’s got a new look and feel and a whole host of other things that we believe are right for the future,” Gloeckler said.

Summing up Walmart’s approach to health care, she said, “There is one thing that we cannot put a price on and that’s the health of our customers. We realize at Walmart we play an important role in making health care available to millions and helping millions put healthy meals on the table. This is a responsibility we take seriously. From managing diabetes to running your first 5K and to simply putting healthy foods on the table or having healthy foods for your on-the-go lifestyle, we’re equipping our customers with solutions for total health management, which stands for nutrition, fitness, preventative care and ­treatment.”


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