WOONSOCKET, R.I. — Judy Sansone, CVS Pharmacy’s chief merchant and senior vice president of front-store business, will retire in September. She will be replaced by George Coleman, who is senior vice president of merchandising.
Sansone’s retirement rings down the curtain on a 42-year career at CVS that began as a part-time cashier, leading eventually to experience as a store manager and then operations executive before she moved over to merchandising. In 2000 she was named vice president of merchandising, and she was elevated to senior vice president of merchandising in 2011.
Her responsibilities during that period expanded steadily to encompass retail innovation and store design, health care, general merchandise, consumables and pricing. She was also part of the team that successfully integrated stores acquired from Eckerd Drug, Osco Drug, Sav-on Drugs and Longs Drug Stores.
Sansone’s career spans the most transformational milestones in CVS’ history, such as the development of the ExtraCare customer loyalty program. She is credited with playing a leading role in the company’s decision to stop selling tobacco.
“That was a pivotal moment for us, because it began a transformation that brought our purpose to life across all of our retail businesses,” she recalled in an interview earlier this year.
Her vision is said to have been a critical element as CVS Pharmacy has reimagined both its front store and the e-commerce experience to make the retailer a health and beauty destination. Perhaps the pinnacle of her career, though, came in February when she was given leadership of the pilot program for CVS’ new HealthHUB store format.
“I’d like to say I was initially attracted to CVS because of a grander purpose but, honestly, I joined CVS as a teenager and a customer who loved CVS and our beauty business. It was a fun place to shop and a great place for part-time work,” she said.
Coleman was promoted to senior vice president of merchandising last January. Before joining CVS Health, he was a partner in Accenture’s retail strategy consulting practice for more than 15 years. He also spent two years as a Peace Corps volunteer after graduating with honors from Indiana University. He holds an MBA from The Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania.