Walgreens Boots Alliance names CEO

Walgreens Boots Alliance named Stefano Pessina as CEO, reporting directly to James Skinner, executive chairman. Pessina had been acting as CEO since January.

"In Walgreens Boots Alliance's initial six months as a newly combined company, Stefano has done an extraordinary job leading the new enterprise, focusing our str during the company's third quarter call with analysts. "Through his leadership, our organization is meeting the challenges of combining our two companies, and many of the opportunities we anticipated from our strategic combination are now becoming a reality."

The CEO position was left vacant by Greg Wasson, who announced his retirement in December, just before Walgreens' acquisition of Alliance Boots was completed.

Pessina is Walgreens largest shareholder, 16 percent of the combined company, which makes him more sway over the board of directors than many CEOs have, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Pessina led the merger of Walgreens and Boots Alliance, which created the first global pharmacy-led, health and well-being enterprise.

His involvement in the pharmacy industry began in the 1970s when he was working for his family's pharmaceutical wholesale business, which he later restructred and used to acquire several other pharmaceutical wholesale businesses. 

Two decades later, Pessina had created Alliance Sante in southern Europe and Alliance UniChem, a U.K business, and by 2006 had successfully merged Alliance UniChem and Boots Group PLC to form Alliance Boots.

Alliance Boots then entered China in 2008 and most recently moved into the Latin American market as well.

Originally from Italy, Pessina began his career in academia and then joined market research firm ACNielsen in Milan before moving into the pharmacy business. Press Release