Wednesday, May 12, 2021

‘An operator:’ What to know about Roz Brewer, new CEO of Walgreens

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Hello, Broadsheet readers! Women leaders are calling for a Marshall Plan for moms, Aetna will cover a wide range of procedures for trans women, and Roz Brewer is the new CEO of Walgreens. Have a great Wednesday.

– A bullet in the arm. For years now, many companies Fortune 500 have attempted to market themselves as champions of diversity who foster inclusive workplaces and prepare employees from under-represented groups for future success. But a data point is still there to unravel the fantastic self-portrait America is trying to paint of itself: Of all the CEOs of all the Fortune 500 companies, only two have ever been black women.

Ursula Burns was the first to become CEO of Photocopy in 2009; she resigned in 2016. Mary Winston of Bed bath and beyond was the second, although his tenure as CEO was short – seven months – and on an interim basis.

the Fortune 500 will finally get its third on March 15, when Rosalind ‘Roz’ Brewer becomes CEO of Walgreens. The nearly $ 140 billion retail and pharmacy giant announced Tuesday the hiring of Brewer, who was most recently the COO of Starbucks.

AT StarbucksBrewer was widely credited with cleaning up the company’s stores and bringing a new level of discipline to its operations, as my colleague Beth Kowitt reported in her 2019 Executive Profile. It’s a skill set she honed Walmart, for a decade that included running the Sam’s Club, the company’s warehouse club. At Sam’s Club, she focused on branding in e-commerce and targeting a better-off shopper, but struggled to catch up with its biggest rival Costco.

Brewer will take over as CEO at a critical time for Walgreens as the drugstore chain partner with the U.S. federal government for the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine, which has been criticized as slow and chaotic. Fortunately, Brewer is known for getting things done.

“She’s an operator,” said Mellody Hobson, co-CEO of Ariel Investments and now president of Starbucks at Beth in 2019. “She’s not just a person with a point of view and a vision. She can perform.

The Broadsheetthe regular count of all female CEOs sitting Fortune 500 always underlines the amount of work remaining. Brewer’s appointment does that too – she’ll be a record No. 40, based on the current universe of female CEOs. This highlights the shortage of black women in the ranks, but her hiring is at least a check mark in the right direction.

Claire Zillman
claire.zillman@fortune.com
@clairezillman

Today’s Broadsheet was organized by Emma Hinchliffe.



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