Walgreens CEO Steps Down In Shock Administration Shake-Up

Walgreens CEO Steps Down In Surprise Management Shake-Up

Key takeaways

  • Walgreens’ CEO, Rosalind Brewer, has left the corporate after solely becoming a member of in 2021
  • The pharmacy chain’s push into healthcare has to date proved unprofitable
  • Walgreens’ share value fell 7% on the information after an already gloomy 2023 efficiency

Walgreens Boots Alliance’s CEO has abruptly departed the corporate after lower than three years within the place. The choice was allegedly mutual after Walgreens noticed its share value halve as the pharmacy chain now appears to be like to reposition itself as a healthcare supplier – and a snazzy new CEO with the trade expertise to match.

After a blended bag of quarterly monetary outcomes, Walgreens continues to be trying to pivot – however can the corporate pull it off and get well the share value, or ought to it follow what it is aware of with the core drugstore enterprise and increase profitability there? Right here’s the most recent on the administration reshuffle and Walgreens’ future plans.

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What’s occurred with Walgreens?

Walgreens has confirmed its CEO, Rosalind Brewer, has stepped down as a part of a mutually agreed resolution. Brewer first joined the corporate in March 2021 from Starbucks, the place she was COO and group president; since then, the pharmacy chain’s share value has plummeted 47%. Brewer will keep on as a particular adviser by way of February 2024.

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Brewer drove Walgreens’ push into healthcare by including main care hubs to shops, buying Summit Well being-Metropolis MD final 12 months, and main the funding into VillageMD in late 2021. Nonetheless, Walgreens has suffered heavy losses in its push into the first care sector whereas falling in gross sales for on a regular basis gadgets like toothpaste and cleaning soap as opponents supply quicker supply or higher costs.

“I’m assured that WBA is on monitor to be a number one consumer-centric healthcare firm, serving hundreds of communities throughout the nation, particularly those who want entry to healthcare essentially the most,” Brewer mentioned in a ready assertion.

Brewer’s departure comes a month after Walgreens’ CFO, James Kehoe, left the corporate, leaving Walgreens with out two main executives on the helm. Lead impartial director Ginger Graham, who has deep healthcare expertise, has been appointed interim CEO.

Is Walgreens struggling?

If the pharmacy’s newest quarterly earnings report is something to go by, then the corporate isn’t trying too scorching financially. Walgreens’ fiscal third-quarter earnings recorded $1 per share primarily based on income of $35.42 billion, in comparison with the $1.07 per share on $34.24 billion in income that analysts forecasted.

Regardless that income and gross sales throughout a number of segments elevated, the earnings per share was the primary time Walgreens had missed estimates since 2020. Internet revenue additionally plunged 59% to $118 million for the quarter, down from $289 million for a similar quarter final 12 months.

Walgreens additionally noticed a steep drop in Covid vaccinations, which mirrors different healthcare suppliers’ expertise. Vaccinations had been down 83% to 800,000 in comparison with the 4.7 million doses administered final 12 months.

Walgreens additionally confirmed it was upping the stakes for its cost-cutting initiatives to avoid wasting $4.1 billion, together with a $800 million saving for fiscal 12 months 2024. The corporate has lowered its earnings steerage to $4 to $4.05 per share for the entire 12 months, down from $4.45 to $4.65 per share. It was sufficient to ship Walgreens’ share value down 9% on the time.

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How did Wall Avenue take the information?

Everybody is aware of traders don’t like a shock announcement, particularly one which impacts an organization’s management. Wall Avenue reacted in flip, with Walgreens’ share value plunging 7.4% by the bell on Friday buying and selling.

Walgreens’ share value has dropped 37% because the begin of 2023, however its opponents haven’t fared significantly better as Covid vaccinations dropped off and shoppers pulled again on spending. Compared, rival CVS has fallen 29% in the identical interval, and Ceremony Assist
, which is rumored to be submitting for chapter quickly, has declined 77%.

Walgreens’ quest to turn into a healthcare chief

A remark from Walgreens’ govt chairman gave some perception into the corporate’s future plans, as Stefano Pessina mentioned the corporate would “advance the seek for a successor with deep healthcare expertise to steer in at this time’s dynamic atmosphere”.

The corporate is already on the trail to changing into a healthcare chief, making a reputation for itself after investing in VillageMD for $5.2 billion in October 2021. The deal meant to carry 600 Village Medical branches to Walgreens main care practices by 2025, increasing to 1,000 by 2027.

The figures look promising. In Walgreens’ fiscal third quarter, the healthcare phase made $2 billion in gross sales, a $1.4 billion enhance from the identical interval final 12 months. Its subsidiary VillageMD, a main healthcare supplier, noticed a 22% income increase. CareCentricx, Walgreens’ at-home healthcare supplier, climbed 15%.

Nonetheless, the VillageMD funding has proved pricey for the enterprise. Walgreens’ healthcare phase recorded a $113 million loss earlier than EBITDA, primarily as a result of VillageMD funding. Whereas a lot of the growth was pushed by Brewer, different opponents like CVS, which purchased well being insurer Aetna in 2017, have confirmed extra worthwhile.

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Walgreens has additionally determined to scale back its retail presence, with opponents like Amazon and Walmart regularly gaining market share. The enterprise plans to shut 450 shops and lay off 10% of its workforce, whereas plans to divest the U.Ok. chain of Boots shops have to date confirmed unsuccessful.

The underside line

With a background as a profitable retail govt, it’s possible that Walgreens merely didn’t suppose Brewer had sufficient clout within the healthcare trade to see by way of its transformation. As an alternative, the corporate is doubling down on the work Brewer began and repositioning itself as a healthcare firm as a substitute of a retailer.

The third-quarter figures for Walgreens’ healthcare phase had been promising, however with out a everlasting CEO and CFO, traders can be nervous – so Walgreens can be trying to make an announcement rapidly. Whoever it’s, count on them to have a deep bench of healthcare experience to regular the ship and the inventory value.

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