Inside This Issue - News
Walgreens realigns merchants
October 21st, 2013
DEERFIELD, Ill. – Alex Gourlay, president of Walgreen Co.’s daily living business, earlier this month unveiled marketing and merchandising changes to hone the drug chain’s strategic direction going forward.
Three senior merchants were named as general merchandise managers (GMMs): Shannon Curtin as GMM for beauty and fashion categories; Robert Tompkins as GMM for health and wellness; and Moe Alkemade as GMM for consumables, sundries and seasonal products. All report to Gourlay.
The former Alliance Boots executive has tapped five additional merchants for the Walgreens daily living operation:
• Beth Stiller will be responsible for Walgreens’ retail brands, an assignment that includes the global sourcing of those brands.
• Adam Holyk will oversee the retailer’s loyalty data, the centerpiece of which is the Balance Rewards loyalty card program.
• Jim Jensen is charged with supervising Walgreens’ daily living assortment, including space planning and SKU optimization for daily living offerings.
• Paul Tiberio will implement Walgreens’ merchandise customization program, an assignment that will emphasize the task of matching local offers to local populations.
• Rachael Bishop will oversee the business development aspects of the daily living program.
The executive changes will become effective next month.
Also, Graham Atkinson, Walgreens’ chief marketing and customer experience officer, will continue in a dual reporting relationship to president and chief executive officer Greg Wasson and Gourlay.
Previously head of the Boots drug chain in the United Kingdom, Gourlay assumed his new role at Walgreens on October 1 and so far is the most senior Alliance Boots executive to join Walgreens’ top management team.
Gourlay comes to Deerfield as a proven retail executive, equally familiar with merchandising and operations. If not a permanent fixture at Walgreens, his assignment there appears open-ended — and the top managers on both sides of the Atlantic carry huge expectations for his contributions to the ongoing formation of the Walgreens-Alliance Boots mega-retail organization.
For his part, Gourlay has even now formed some initial impressions about his new company and his new assignment.
"These changes haven’t happened in two weeks," he said about the personnel moves. "They’ve been in the works since early last summer and have been planned long before that. In fact, much of the credit for the new strategic alignment belongs to Mark Wagner, our president of operations and community management. He’s more familiar with the people involved than I can hope to be in so short a time. And he has an accurate feel for the strengths of each."
About his first days at Walgreens, Gourlay is decidedly optimistic. "I’ve been particularly impressed with the level of talent I’ve found here," he said. "But I’m not surprised. After all, this is a company with a history of success and innovation."