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Influential Women: Michelle Peluso, CVS Health

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WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Michelle Peluso brings a people-first mentality to her work. As executive vice president and chief customer officer of CVS Health, and co-president of CVS Pharmacy and Consumer Wellness, she always keeps the needs of consumers and staff members top of mind as she explores new ways to help elevate the retail and health care experience.

influential womenTo that end, Peluso spends a lot of time in the field interacting with associates, occasionally working beside them in the stores in order to better perceive what customers want and how CVS Pharmacy can satisfy them. Those insights, she says, serve as a catalyst for a process of continuous improvement at the front end of the store, which she oversees. (Prem Shah, Peluso’s co-president of CVS Pharmacy and Consumer Wellness, is in charge of the prescription drug business.)

Peluso’s personal engagement with what transpires in the field has an added benefit: It enables her to identify outstanding store teams and recognize their efforts, something she frequently does on LinkedIn.

A customer-centric approach is nothing new for Peluso. Prior to joining CVS Health in 2021, she was senior vice president of digital sales and chief marketing officer at IBM, where she was responsible for global marketing, digital sales and the commercials business. Earlier in her career, Peluso served as Citigroup’s chief consumer marketing and internet officer. In that role, she oversaw worldwide consumer marketing and the customer experience, as well as the company’s digital transformation.

That experience has come in handy at CVS Health. Peluso and Karen Lynch, the company’s president and chief executive officer, are convinced that the health care and retail sectors need to make better use of digital technology to ensure that patients and customers are always the focal point.

“Omnichannel for us is not just commerce,” Peluso said earlier this year, “it really extends across health and wellness. For instance, the mental health crisis in this country is very significant, and we’re finding that to address the problem it can be really effective to have both virtual and physical capabilities.”

CVS Health has made it a priority to expand access to in-person and digital mental health services and educational materials. MinuteClinic offers depression screenings at its more than 1,000 locations, with more than 60 locations in 14 states now offering in-person and virtual mental health services, including cognitive behavioral therapy. In addition, the ­company offers a number of mental health resources on, including a resource center around different populations and their unique mental health needs.

“We always think omnichannel as a company,” Peluso explained. “It colors everything we do, including how we deliver health care itself. The exciting parts about the work we’re doing now is making sure that we’re proceeding holistically across channels and delivering a seamless experience for our customers.”

Providing real value for customers is another imperative for Peluso and team. One means of doing so is private label merchandise, long a pillar of the company’s retail business.

“We continue to strengthen the innovation in our store brands,” said Peluso. “That’s particularly important in this more inflationary, recessionary environment. Our store brands enable us to offer a great price point, innovation and purpose-driven brands for the consumer.” 


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