Tim Wentworth, a seasoned leader in the healthcare industry, has been appointed as the new CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance.
Former CEO of Express Scripts, the largest pharmaceutical benefits management firm in the country before it was purchased by Cigna, Wentworth in 2018. Before retiring at the end of 2021, he continued to work and served as the director of Cigna’s health services.
Wentworth told CNBC, “What made me decide to come back was the opportunity to lead this iconic brand and company at a time when it’s not in a steady state.” It’s a huge platform, and every day they interact with approximately 10 million people.
Wentworth will take over on October 23, over two months after Roz Brewer left her position as CEO and as the business struggles to make the move to offering health services beyond the pharmacy counter.
During Brewer’s leadership, Walgreens bought the specialised pharmacy company Shields Health, the homecare provider CareCentrix, and a sizable share in the primary care provider VillageMD. Earnings at Walgreens have been impacted by efforts to scale and integrate the operations.
The changeover occurred at a time when declining demand for Covid vaccinations and over-the-counter testing has put pressure on pharmacy revenue. For the first time in three years, the company’s third-quarter earnings fell short of Wall Street expectations in June.
According to the Walgreens pharmacy board, all new services would be reined in if someone executive with extensive experience in the health sector was hired.
“I came from one of the great efficiency businesses at Express Scripts; after all, we were designed to eliminate waste in the healthcare industry, and we viewed everything through that lens. There is no doubt within this organisation that our own cost structure is equally critical, and that is where we should start,” said Wentworth.
Wentworth “is an accomplished and respected leader with profound expertise in the payer and pharmacy space as well as supply chain, IT, and Human Resources,” according to Stefano Pessina, executive chairman of Walgreens. We are certain that he will guide WBA through its upcoming phase of development into a healthcare organisation focused on customers.
The primary pharmacy operation of the company is also having difficulties. This week, pharmacists in a number of cities took a sick day from work to protest understaffing at pharmacies, which they claim puts patients at risk.
According to Wentworth, pharmacy chains immediately changed course during Covid to become significant vaccine suppliers and provided patients with information.
“When you work in a field where you have to react so rapidly to something so odd. You don’t really understand it. And I have no doubt that Walgreens‘ management is looking at things and paying attention to its employees,” he said. “As a manager, I can tell you that nothing inspires me more than making sure every employee feels supported in that mission,” the leader said.
On Thursday, Walgreens is expected to release its fourth quarter profits.