Roz Brewer steps down as Walgreens CEO amid share price plunge

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.’s Rosalind Brewer stepped down from her post as chief executive officer and board member during a rocky shift to a wider offering of health-care services while the shares have plunged. 

The move took effect Aug. 31 and board member Ginger Graham has been appointed as the company’s interim CEO, according to a statement. Brewer had been CEO since March 2021 and was one of only a handful of women of color leading Fortune 500 companies. 

The shares have fallen by half since she took over. The stock was little changed in early New York trading.

Former CEO Stefano Pessina hired Brewer in 2021 to transform the drugstore chain into a healthcare provider to compete with CVS, which had been aggressively expanding in this area for years. Walgreens has added primary-care centers to US locations, partnered with insurers and acquired specialty and urgent care provider Summit Health-City MD to move more deeply into patient care. But the transition to broaden its healthcare offerings hasn’t been easy. Last quarter Walgreens slashed its full-year profit forecast, sending shares falling.

Brewer’s digital expertise from her previous role as Starbucks Corp. operating chief made her an ideal candidate to oversee the company’s transformation, Pessina said when she was originally named, and that her leadership skills would make up for her lack of experience in health care. 

She has agreed to advise Walgreens during its search for a permanent successor. The departure also signals a shakeup in upper management. Last month James Kehoe stepped down from his role as chief financial officer to take a role in the tech sector.

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