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Walgreens beauty head Lauren Brindley to depart

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Heather Hughes will succeed her in beauty role

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Lauren Brindley, who helped elevate Walgreens’ beauty departments, is leaving her role as group vice president beauty and personal care at the end of July.

Heather Hughes is stepping into the role of Walgreens group vice president beauty and personal care and seasonal. Hughes, a pharmacist, has 20 years of experience with Walgreens, most recently as group vice president, GMM, seasonal, general merchandise and photo.

Heather Hughes

Heather Hughes

“With a background as a pharmacist and 20 years of experience with Walgreens driving transformation, Heather’s passion for health and well-being makes her a natural fit for our beauty and personal care business. Heather is a decisive leader who most recently oversaw Walgreens’ strategy to develop and curate a better-for-you grocery assortment,” said Luke Rauch, senior vice president and chief merchandising officer at Walgreens in a statement.

“We thank Lauren for her hard work and dedication to Walgreens Boots Alliance over the last several years,” he added.

Brindley called the decision personal and for an external opportunity. She praised what the beauty team has accomplished over the past almost seven years.

Under Brindley, Walgreens added hundreds of new brands, many in emerging areas such as natural beauty. One example is a new approach to merchandising hair care with an assortment curated to meet the needs of the 75% of Americans with textured hair.

Lauren Brindley

Lauren Brindley

She helped accelerate the retailers’ digital efforts, especially during the pandemic. The rollout of a buy online, pick up at stores in 30 minutes or less last year was a favorite project of Brindley’s. “It set new expectations for how fast consumers can access products and really drove huge demand for beauty, especially replenishment,” she said in an interview earlier this year.

The importance of Walgreens’ beauty consultants was always top-of-mind and  Brindley helped foster strong partnerships between pharmacists and the consultants. Both consultants and pharmacists are trained to answer questions and support consumer selection in regard to skin products and hair needs.

“Our relationship between the pharmacist and consultant is unique. Pharmacists give a warm handoff to the beauty consultation who can walk with customers to find the right solutions,” Brindley explained. “Conversations in skin care are really about well-being and have gone beyond anti-aging or acne to the importance of having glowing and healthy skin. It is a great opportunity for dermatological lead skin care brands in the mass market,” she said.

Brindley was uniquely qualified to help burnish the state of mass market beauty when she assumed her role in 2015 thanks to her more than 11 years with Boots UK, considered one of the most powerful beauty purveyors in the world. Walgreens recently abandoned plans to sell off Boots.

She leaves the retailer poised for the continued evolution of the category noting she will continue to be a champion for the business and brand partners.


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