Who to follow
October sure was a busy month for news in the drug channel. It began in earnest on Oct. 1, the day CVS’ new president officially began his new job. Before the month was over, CVS’ chief merchant left to become president of Family Dollar, and his responsibilities would be carved up between three key executives.
At Walgreens, the changes — and there were many in October — helped to create a structure that will help it evolve into a “daily living products and solutions” store. Meanwhile, Canada’s two biggest drug chains emerged with new leaders, taking over at a time of immense change in that country’s highly fragmented pharmacy market.
What impact will these individuals have on their companies? What impact will they have on your companies? In the spirit of one of the most ubiquitous social media applications, a “little birdie” told us to share a list of the people DSN is following and why.
Mark Cosby — president, CVS/pharmacy
As Madison, Wis.-native Mark Cosby settles into his new role as president of CVS/pharmacy, the industry is eagerly waiting to learn more about this former Macy’s executive. Cosby, who spent the earlier years of his career in food service before moving to retail in 2002, has gained a reputation for being not only an #innovator but also a #motivator. Word on the street is that he has been said to start meetings by having attendees run in place. Whether or not that is indeed the case, what is known is that while serving as COO of KFC, he initiated the co-branded stores with two eateries under the same roof. He also is credited with being the brains behind KFC’s popular popcorn chicken. It will be interesting to see how Cosby’s vision and innovative spirit will play out within retail pharmacy.
Judy Strauss Sansone — SVP merchandising, CVS/pharmacy
In a move that has received praise from several industry players, Judy Strauss Sansone has taken the reins of CVS’ merchandising team in her new role as SVP merchandising. This approachable, #SmartAndSavvyMerchant is no stranger to the disciplines of CVS, having been with the retailer for more than 30 years. Over the years, the well-respected exec has gained experience at various ends of the merchandising team, including stops as VP merchandising and pricing, VP healthcare merchandising and VP retail innovation and store design. She also was part of the core integration team that brought into the fold Eckerd, Osco, Sav-On and Longs Drug. The industry may not see a dramatic strategic shift, but Sansone’s new role likely will create — both internally and externally — a different type of openness.
Robert Price — chief marketing officer, CVS/pharmacy
Rob Price may prefer to stay out of the limelight, or so it seems, but that in no ways means that this seasoned executive lacks expertise and enthusiasm. Drawing on his 20-plus years of retail, strategy and marketing experience, the chief marketing officer has taken on an expanded role in the areas of retail innovation and store design. Price has been charged with more tightly integrating the store and digital environments to create a more #PersonalizedShoppingExperience. Price has been known to #LookBeyondTraditional forms of advertising, leveraging multimedia and entertainment campaigns to bolster company recognition. Price once said, “While the marketing applications of these technological advancements can be exciting, how you tap into them to create extensions of the brand experience is most important.”
Frank Scorpiniti — CEO, Rexall/Katz Group Canada
Bright. Dynamic. Inquisitive. These are some of the words that people use to describe the incoming CEO of Rexall/Katz Group. But Scorpiniti also has developed a strong reputation for building #patient-centric, pharmacy services programs — particularly at Duane Reade where his work included the Diabetes Resource Center and in-store clinics. This kind of #Forward-LookingThinking will serve Scorpiniti and the company well, particularly as Rexall/Katz, like its Canadian competitors, figures its way around drastic cuts in generic drug pricing. Independents will be particularly hard hit, and it is expected that this will set off a wave of acquisition activity. Interestingly, this is another area in which Scorpiniti has some considerable experience, going back to his days at Longs, and there are those that expect Rexall/Katz to be fairly aggressive with acquisitions.
Domenic Pilla — president and CEO, Shoppers Drug Mart
Domenic Pilla inherits a chain that is wrestling not only with competitive challenges, but also with the impact of drug reforms in several provinces and a legal battle with the Ontario government over the province’s regulations last year that sought to prevent pharmacies from selling their own lower-priced versions in place of name-brand drugs. Pilla likely will be working to mend the fences with government, while also standing up for the #InterestsOfRetailPharmacy — quite a balancing act. Fortunately for Shoppers, Pilla has been praised for his collaborative ability and passion for the industry.
Mike Bloom — president and COO, Family Dollar
The move to Family Dollar gives Mike Bloom a chance to put the stamp of his leadership on a company that is the clear No. 2 in a very dynamic channel. Usually that means focusing on the things you know. For Bloom, that’s the drug store business — particularly, #HealthAndBeauty. Most are expecting Bloom to bring more of the drug store product mix to Family Dollar — much the way Dollar General has behind its leadership team of former drug store guys. Could one of these companies emerge one day soon with a $3 generic program? Bloom is a #ToughNegotiator — something vendors expect he will change about Family Dollar.
Joe Magnacca — president of daily living products and solutions, Walgreens
Joe Magnacca has a unique vision for the drug store shopping experience. He isn’t afraid to test #NewConcepts; the company’s new flagship store at 40 Wall St. in New York is a testament to that. His very title reflects the way he looks at pharmacy retailing — a “daily living products and solutions” store. This also has meant major changes in Walgreens’ merchandising and marketing teams. Change can create uncertainty, but vendors regard Magnacca as #approachable and “a good match” with president and CEO Greg Wasson — and when there is clear alignment from the boardroom to the stores, vendors know how they can fit in.
Moe Alkemade — VP retail brands and global sourcing, Walgreens
Frank Grilli — divisional VP/GMM regional procurement, Walgreens
Rachel Bishop — VP daily living strategies and business development, Walgreens
Try not to get caught in the trap of speculating on any internal politics behind the recent restructuring that now has these three, highly talented professionals reporting directly to Joe Magnacca. It’s about #synergy. The number of reports doesn’t matter — this is about assembling a #DreamTeam that has the components to match the company’s vision of what it wants to represent to customers every day. And, Alkemade, Grilli and Bishop — given their roles for private brand, local sourcing and strategy — all are central to the mission of evolving Walgreens from a “drug store” to a “daily living and solutions” store. This group will help make Walgreens different; Pugh’s team will make it all come to life.
Bryan Pugh — VP merchandising, chief merchandising officer, Walgreens
Bryan Pugh has been tasked with making Joe Magnacca’s #Front-EndMerchandisingVision pop across the chain. The near-term challenge for Pugh will be to bring his merchant teams up to speed on what will be new responsibilities for many without impeding Walgreens’ current momentum. Pugh brings to Walgreens a diverse outlook on merchandising with his mass merchant and supermarket experiences at Walmart and Tesco. Along with Magnacca, Pugh is looking to create a whole #NewVision for drug store front-end retailing.
Robert Tompkins — GMM health and wellness, front-end services and general merchandise, Walgreens
Shannon Curtin — GMM beauty, personal care and seasonal, Walgreens
Steven Broughton — GMM food, beverages and household consumables, Walgreens
Walgreens’ triumvirate of wellness, beauty and fresh is now represented in these three executives. A @Walgreens devotee since his days as a pharmacy tech, Tompkins has great vision for health and wellness, especially in featuring new products. He has a reputation for integrity and openness. #FairButTough. Broughton was accustomed to a much higher velocity across food items at Walmart, but with Walgreens’ commitment to 1,000 stores serving #FoodDeserts, the volume of food sold through Walgreens should increase dramatically. Curtin is successfully blending the first-to-market disciplines of Walmart with the intimacy of Walgreens. The key will be making a concept like Duane Reade’s #LookBoutique relevant to suburban moms.