Walgreen Co. has appointed Joseph ­Magnacca to the new position of president of daily living products and solutions. Magnacca had been president of Duane Reade, a position he had taken after the New York-based chain was acquired by Walgreens in April 2010.

Walgreen Co., Joseph ­Magnacca, Duane Reade, marketing, merchandising operations, Kim Feil, Bryan Pugh, Greg Wasson, Look Boutique, DR Delish private label line, customer-centric retailing, CCR, Walgreens Health Initiatives Inc., Catalyst Health Solutions Inc.

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Inside This Issue - News

Walgreens promotes Magnacca

March 21st, 2011

DEERFIELD, Ill. – Walgreen Co. has appointed Joseph ­Magnacca to the new position of president of daily living products and solutions. Magnacca had been president of Duane Reade, a position he had taken after the New York-based chain was acquired by Walgreens in April 2010.

In the new position Magnacca will direct both marketing and merchandising operations while continuing to lead the integration of Duane Reade. Walgreens chief marketing officer Kim Feil and chief merchandising officer Bryan Pugh will both report to Magnacca under the reorganization.

Magnacca will continue to report to president and chief executive officer Greg Wasson.

"We are bringing together and raising the profile of one of the strongest teams in retail to lead our marketing and merchandising efforts and enhance our daily living products business, much as we have already enhanced our pharmacy, health and wellness services and solutions business," said Wasson in a statement. "Joe’s exceptional strategic market focus, combined with the leadership, experience and expertise that Kim and Bryan have brought to our marketing and merchandising operations means we are now better positioned than ever to meet the daily living needs of our customers. In addition, the creative innovations and improvements that Joe brought to Duane Reade will now benefit and be extended across our entire organization."

Magnacca has more than 20 years of diverse retail experience, having served as vice president of marketing and merchandising for Loblaw Cos., Canada’s No. 1 supermarket operator, and as executive vice president of merchandising and category management for Shoppers Drug Mart, Canada’s largest drug store chain.

In 2008 Magnacca joined Duane Reade as senior vice president and chief merchandising officer, and he was subsequently promoted to executive vice president.

Much of the credit for the transformation of Duane Reade into one of the most innovative drug chains in the industry goes to Magnacca, who has been described as a consummate merchant with a profound understanding of both drug and food retailing, the beauty business and urban retailing as well. The long list of innovations implemented at Duane Reade during his tenure range from offering draft beer in a Brooklyn outlet to creating the Look Boutique prestige beauty departments that rival department stores in their offerings and ambience.

It is also a tribute to Magnacca’s accomplishments at Duane Reade that Walgreens, after the acquisition, quickly adopted Duane Reade’s DR Delish private label line of snacks and beverages. In addition, the Look Boutique departments have had an impact on beauty care merchandising at Walgreens.

Both the Feil and Pugh appointments are relatively recent, Feil having joined Walgreens in 2008, while Pugh came on board in 2009. Wasson credits Feil with leading a new marketing organization that has created "some of the most focused, results-oriented consumer marketing campaigns in our company’s history."

Pugh, meanwhile, has rebuilt Walgreens’ merchandising organization and has been at the forefront of developing and implementing the company’s customer-centric retailing (CCR) initiative, intended to revitalize Walgreens’ front-end business. The company expects to roll out the CCR format to most of its stores, numbering more than 7,600, by this fall.

Naming Magnacca to a new post with oversight of both marketing and merchandising emphatically underlines the importance Walgreens management attaches to its retail business, both at the front end and in the pharmacy. That focus was further highlighted by the company’s sale earlier this month of its pharmacy benefits management business, Walgreens Health Initiatives Inc., to Catalyst Health Solutions Inc. for $525 million. The transaction is expected to close by the end of June.

"With nearly 7,700 drug stores as our center of gravity, we are focused more than ever on delivering convenient, affordable, high-quality pharmacy health and wellness solutions and on enhancing our full scope of services to become America’s first choice for health and daily living needs," said Wasson.

Walgreens is, however, keeping its specialty pharmacy, infusion and mail-order service businesses, which will continue to support patients of Catalyst and Walgreens Health Initiatives. They are, Wasson emphasized, an important extension of the company’s drug stores, retail clinics, work-site health centers and medical facility pharmacies.