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Merlo likely to succeed Ryan as CEO at CVS

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WOONSOCKET, R.I. — CVS Caremark Corp. chairman, president and chief executive officer Tom Ryan has decided to call it quits.

CVS Caremark Corp. chairman, president and chief executive officer Tom Ryan has decided to call it quits.

Ryan, who has been the company’s top executive since 1998 and its chairman since 2007, will retire at the annual shareholders’ meeting next May.

He is expected to be succeeded by Larry Merlo, a 20-year company veteran who has been executive vice president at CVS Caremark and president of the CVS/pharmacy retail operation.

To prepare him for his expected move into the CEO role next year, the board of directors has named the 54-year-old Merlo president and chief operating officer.

The board says it is looking for someone to take over as CVS/pharmacy president and that Merlo will continue to oversee the operation until a replacement is found.

In an effort to make the transition to a new CEO easier, the CVS Caremark board has created what it calls an office of the chairman. The office is made up of Ryan, Merlo and Per Lofberg, who earlier this year became president of Caremark Pharmacy Services, the company’s pharmacy benefits management unit.

Ryan says CVS is in better shape now than at any time during his nearly four decades with the company, and he is confident that he will be leaving the company in good hands.

"I felt this was the right time to move forward with our transition plan," the 58-year-old Ryan says. "I have never felt better about our position than I do now.

"We have tremendous assets, an incredibly talented management team and a strategy that is resonating in the marketplace," he says. "I made my decision knowing that CVS Caremark is in an excellent position and that we have the right team in place to build on our success."

Ryan calls Merlo "the ideal executive to lead our business forward."

"Larry Merlo is a high-energy, customer-focused leader who has delivered outstanding results in every position he has held," Ryan remarks. "He has worked alongside me for the past 20 years and has been instrumental in developing our vision for CVS Caremark as an integrated health care company."

Ryan began his career at CVS in 1975, working his way up from staff pharmacist to the top executive position.

Under his leadership CVS grew from a regional drug chain with revenue of $5 billion in 1994 to a health care conglomerate with stores in 44 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico, and annual revenues approaching $100 billion.


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