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Walgreens hires John Standley, former Rite Aid CEO, to run U.S. unit

August 31, 2020, 2:59 PM UTC

Former Rite Aid Corp. Chief Executive Officer John Standley will run Walgreens Boots Alliance’s U.S. business, the drugstore company announced Monday.

Standley will replace Richard Ashworth, who left earlier this year to take a job as CEO of Tivity Health Inc. Co-Chief Operating Officer Alex Gourlay has been overseeing the U.S. business, which includes roughly 9,300 drugstores, during the search.

Walgreens is trying to revitalize its business amid broader shifts in the U.S. retail and health-care businesses. CVS Health Corp., its fiercest rival, purchased a health insurer, while Walgreens has inked a slew of smaller partnerships.

“I’m looking forward to accelerating execution of the strategic vision for the future of Walgreens,” Standley said in a statement.

Walgreens shares were down 1% at 9:58 a.m. New York time. They had lost about 34% this year as of Friday’s close.

Standley led Rite Aid for nine years, through two failed deals that left the company loaded with debt and much smaller than its rivals. Walgreens CEO Stefano Pessina praised Standley’s experience in the statement, saying it will allow him to “hit the ground running.”

Pessina earlier this summer announced that he will step down and move into the executive chairman role. The company is looking for his replacement.