Walgreens stock spikes after tapping Starbucks exec Roz Brewer as new CEO

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Walgreens’ stock price got a boost Wednesday with Starbucks honcho Roz Brewer poised to take over as the pharmacy chain’s new CEO.

Shares in the Illinois-based drugstore giant jumped 4.6 percent to $51.46 in premarket trading as of 8:25 a.m. a day after it announced that Brewer would join the company after more than three years as Starbucks’ chief operating officer.

Brewer will become the only black woman at the helm of a Fortune 500 company when she starts at Walgreens on March 15. She’ll take the reins from current chief Stefano Pessina, who will move to the role of executive chairman as the company announced in July.

Brewer, 58, is a retail veteran who helped Starbucks bolster its to-go operations as the coronavirus pandemic hit while working to improve diversity among the company’s leadership, according to The Wall Street Journal, which first reported on her job change.

Before her stint at Starbucks, Brewer was the first woman and first African-American to lead a Walmart division as president and CEO of the Sam’s Club wholesale chain.

“She is a distinguished and experienced executive who has led organizations globally through periods of changing consumer behavior by applying innovation that elevates customer experiences — ultimately driving significant and sustainable growth and value creation,” Pessina, who has led Walgreens since its 2014 merger with European pharmacy chain Alliance Boots, said in a statement.

Brewer’s arrival at Walgreens will come as the company struggles with reduced store traffic during the COVID-19 pandemic while working to cut costs, the Journal reported.

The chain is also expected to play an important role in distributing coronavirus vaccines across the country.

Starbucks confirmed Brewer’s exit Tuesday, saying she’ll leave the company at the end of February. Starbucks shares were down about 2.7 percent in premarket trading at $101.88 as of 8:23 a.m.

With Post wires

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