Walgreens Boots Alliance has appointed Tim Wentworth, a seasoned healthcare executive, as its new CEO, starting on October 23. Wentworth, the former CEO of Express Scripts, the largest pharmacy benefits management company in the country, which was acquired by Cigna in 2018, brings a wealth of health industry experience. He also served as the chief of Cigna’s health services until his retirement in 2021.
Wentworth’s decision to return to the role was influenced by the opportunity to lead the iconic Walgreens brand during a period of significant change. The company, which touches the lives of nearly 10 million people daily, is facing various challenges as it strives to expand its healthcare services beyond traditional pharmacy offerings.
An executive with extensive healthcare expertise
During Roz Brewer’s tenure as CEO, Walgreens made significant investments in healthcare, including acquiring primary care provider VillageMD, specialty pharmacy provider Shields Health, and homecare provider CareCentrix. The integration and scaling of these businesses have put pressure on Walgreens’ earnings.
This transition is happening amid declining revenue from the pharmacy business due to reduced demand for COVID-19 vaccines and over-the-counter tests. In June, Walgreens reported lower-than-expected profits for the first time in three years. The company’s board was determined to hire an executive with extensive healthcare expertise to manage and optimize these new services.
Wentworth, who previously worked at Express Scripts, known for its focus on healthcare efficiency and cost reduction, intends to apply similar principles to Walgreens’ operations. He recognizes the importance of managing the company’s cost structure effectively.
Importance of listening to and supporting employees
Stefano Pessina, Walgreens’ executive chairman, expressed confidence in Wentworth’s leadership abilities, highlighting his expertise in payer services, pharmacy operations, supply chain management, IT, and human resources. Wentworth’s appointment marks a new phase for Walgreens as it aims to transform into a customer-centric healthcare company.
Challenges persist within the core pharmacy business, as non-union pharmacists in several cities have gone on strike to protest understaffing, which they believe endangers patient care.
Wentworth acknowledged the rapid response by drugstore chains during the COVID-19 pandemic to become major vaccine providers and sources of information. He emphasized the importance of listening to and supporting employees in the quest for success, especially during times of significant change.
Walgreens is scheduled to report its fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday. In an announcement made on Tuesday, Walgreens Boots Alliance revealed that Tim Wentworth has been appointed as its new CEO. Wentworth is set to assume this role on October 23, as stated in a press release, and he will also become a member of the WBA board of directors.
Expressing his thoughts on this appointment, Wentworth stated, “I am deeply honored and enthusiastic about the exceptional opportunity to guide the next phase of WBA’s transformation. I look forward to collaborating with the Board and WBA’s leadership to provide sustainable value and achieve outstanding results. WBA possesses a distinctive model that leverages the company’s pharmacy expertise and trusted brand to advance healthcare delivery.”