Roz Brewer announced on her LinkedIn that she will step down as Walgreens Boots Alliance’s (WBA) CEO. She will also no longer be a company board member.
According to her post, the decision for her departure was mutual. Walgreens Alliance Boots wanted to lean more into its strategy to become a healthcare company. She shared that she will continue to advise the company as they search for a new CEO.
“This is perhaps one of the most difficult notes I have ever written over the course of my career, but I wanted to share with you directly that the Board and I have mutually agreed that I will step down as the Company’s CEO and a member of the Board, effective today. This decision did not come without great consideration for what is best for all of you, our shareholders, customers, patients, and my family,” Brewer said. “In the near-term, I will continue to advise the Board as they search for a permanent CEO with healthcare expertise.”
“The Board has appointed Ginger Graham, current Lead Independent Director of WBA, as the Company’s interim CEO. Ginger has served as a member of our Board for 13 years, and I’m confident that the organization will be in great hands under her leadership during this transition period.”
“I am grateful to have had the opportunity to lead Walgreens Boots Alliance and to work alongside such talented and dedicated colleagues. When I joined WBA in March of 2021, I couldn’t then imagine all that we’d accomplish together,” she said.
Since Brewer joined the company, WBA has reached multiple milestones, including raising the minimum wage for their employees and delivering 70 million vaccine shots.
WBA’s Stock Value Drops
According to CNBC, Brewer and WBA faced challenges leading up to the announcement of her departure from the company. As of this week, Walgreens’ stock value has dropped over 32% this year. A decreased demand for COVID tests and vaccines was also a significant factor. Additionally, regular retail sales for every day have dwindled. Customers have shifted to competitors like Walmart and Amazon. These platforms offer the convenience of online ordering and swift delivery.
In June, Walgreens disclosed third-quarter earnings that fell short of Wall Street predictions, the first miss since July 2020. Consequently, the company lowered its annual profit forecast.
Yet, the surge in COVID cases might bring a silver lining for the pharmacy’s sales. The upcoming COVID boosters, scheduled for mid-September, might drive the demand. Even if some consumers aren’t keen on getting another booster, WBA remains a go-to for standard over-the-counter remedies for a cold and flu. A notable uptick in the demand for cold and flu medications in its first fiscal quarter helped balance the drop in vaccine demand.
Black Women CEO of Fortune 500 Companies
Brewer’s departure from WBA spotlights a pressing issue in corporate America — the scarcity of Black female CEOs in Fortune 500 companies. According to AboveBoard, with Brewer stepping down, Thasunda Duckett is the only Black woman leading a Fortune 500 firm.
Not only was Brewer one of the few Black women to head a major corporation, but her leadership also inspired countless aspiring executives of color. Now, Duckett, the CEO of TIAA, holds that unique position alone.
The limited representation at this leadership level accentuates Black women’s challenges in climbing the corporate ladder. While many companies tout diversity and inclusion, the numbers in the boardrooms tell a different story. It’s more than just a change in executive roles; it reflects the work that still needs to be done to break the corporate glass ceiling for Black women.