Retail News Breaks
CVS nixes hiring of former Walmart exec, names retail leaders
January 18th, 2011
WOONSOCKET, R.I. – Dropping plans to hire a former Walmart executive as CVS/pharmacy president, CVS Caremark Corp. is continuing its search for a new retail chief and has named Mike Bloom and Scott Baker to lead the retail business in the interim.
The company said Tuesday that Bloom, executive vice president of merchandising and supply chain, and Baker, executive vice president of internal operations and real estate, will take over the management of CVS/pharmacy and its 7,100 drug stores nationwide effective immediately .
Bloom and Baker, which CVS Caremark said are its two highest-ranking retail executives, will report directly to Larry Merlo, president and chief operating officer of CVS Caremark. Merlo had been overseeing CVS/pharmacy during the company's search for a retail president.
With the move, CVS Caremark announced it will resume its search for a new CVS/pharmacy president. "I am confident we will find the right individual for this important role," Merlo said in a statement.
The decision signals that the company won't proceed with the hiring of former Walmart executive Hank Mullany as CVS/pharmacy president, which was announced in early December.
The discount store giant had immediately contested the appointment, filing a lawsuit claiming that the hiring would violate a noncompete agreement because of Mullany's knowledge of confidential Walmart information. The retailer obtained a temporary restraining order to block the hiring, just hours after CVS announced it, and then in mid-December the Delaware Chancery Court granted Walmart's request for a preliminary injunction to bar Mullany from being hired by CVS after a hearing on the matter. A trial was scheduled to begin in March.
Amid the escalating legal dispute, it became increasingly unlikely that CVS would move forward with the hiring of Mullany. The matter created the prospect of leaving a critical management post without a full-time occupant for an extended period, given that the trial was months away and that any ruling could be subject to an appeal.
Merlo had held the post of CVS/pharmacy president until last May when, as part of a corporate succession plan, he was named president and COO of CVS Caremark. At the same time, he was designated to succeed Tom Ryan as chief executive officer when Ryan steps down from that role next year.
"As the company's succession planning process moves forward and I have assumed more enterprisewide responsibilities, we made the decision to delegate the day-to-day operations of our retail business to two of our most senior retail executives," Merlo stated on Tuesday. "What has remained clear throughout our search for a new president of CVS/pharmacy is that we are very fortunate to have a strong, stable group of senior leaders supporting our business."
CVS Caremark said Bloom is a seasoned retail executive, with more than 30 years of retail experience, including 20 years with CVS/pharmacy. In addition to his current role, he will now assume responsibility for advertising and marketing.
A pharmacist by training, Baker has been with CVS/pharmacy more than 25 years. The company said he will now assume responsibility for all of its retail field organizations and pharmacy operations.
"This team of individuals has helped shape our direction and deliver industry-leading results and has consistently demonstrated the highest levels of leadership and teamwork," Merlo commented. "I expect this success to continue into the future as Mike and Scott lead the retail organization."
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