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bootsJune 15 2016

Boots has announced that Simon Roberts is to step down as President of Boots and leave the company in July. Mr Roberts, who has also been an Executive Vice President of Walgreens Boots Alliance, has been with Boots for 13 years. The company has announced that Elizabeth Fagin, currently Senior Vice President and MD International Retail, has been appointed as Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Boots.

The changes announced by parent group Walgreen Boots Alliance have come after newspaper reports in April raised concerns about business practices at Boots. In particular, the Guardian had followed up concerns expressed by the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) that Boots UK was placing employee pharmacists under a great deal of strain and were compelling them to complete unnecessary Medicines Use Reviews in order to increase NHS income.

However, in announcing its changes to the senior management team last week, Walgreen Boots Alliance described the change as part of the next phase of evolution, after the US pharmacy chain Walgreens merged with Alliance Boots at the start of 2015.

Other management changes include the appointment of Co-Chief Operating Officers Alex Gourlay, Executive Vice President of Walgreens Boots Alliance and President of Walgreens, and Ornella Barra, Executive Vice President of Walgreens Boots Alliance and President and Chief Executive of Global Wholesale and International Retail.

Mr Gourlay, a former managing director of Boots, will oversee Walgreens and Boots, while Ms Barra will supervise Global Brands, Human Resources and other business services in addition to her current responsibilities.

“As we continue to work together to find simpler and more effective ways to manage our Company, I believe this is the right structure at the right time,” said Jim Skinner, Walgreens Boots Alliance Executive Chairman. “The changes announced today will allow us to further enhance operating performance, while developing our company for the longer term. I want to congratulate Ornella and Alex on their extended responsibilities. We are very fortunate to have these two world-class corporate executives working together in a senior management team that is very well positioned to guide our businesses across the world through the changing landscape of healthcare.”

Reporting on the management changes, the Guardian quoted a Walgreens Boots Alliance spokesperson who had “insisted Roberts’ departure was a personal decision taken months ago”.

The article also noted that the General Pharmaceutical Council is still deciding whether to launch an investigation into Boots, having asked for evidence to be supplied soon after the Guardian published its investigation. This included the findings of a PDA survey.

Links:

Boots UK announcement

Walgreen Boots Allaiance announcement

Guardian coverage

Pharmacists’ Defence Association

Business News

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