Walgreens taps healthcare industry veteran Wentworth as CEO

(Reuters) -U.S. pharmacy chain operator Walgreens Boots Alliance has appointed Tim Wentworth as its CEO, pinning hopes on the healthcare industry veteran to boost its lagging stock price and reverse a recent drop in profits.

Wentworth, the former top boss of pharmacy benefit manager (PBM) Express Scripts before it was bought by Cigna, will be tasked with overseeing a push by Walgreens to diversify its healthcare services, the firm said on Tuesday.

He brings nearly three decades of healthcare leadership experience to Walgreens as the company grapples with sharply lower sales from COVID vaccinations and testing, along with decreased spending by inflation-weary consumers. Its shares have lost about 40% this year.

“(Wentworth’s) strong track record in healthcare services should provide a solid base for understanding much of the nuance that (Walgreens) is currently navigating,” said J.P. Morgan analyst Lisa Gill in a note.

After Express Scripts, Wentworth was the CEO of Cigna’s health services unit, Evernorth, till he retired in 2021.

Last month, Rosalind Brewer had abruptly stepped down as CEO of Walgreens after less than three years at the top job. The role of permanent CFO is still vacant.

Brewer’s departure was part of a mutually agreed decision, Walgreens had said, without providing further details, after a tenure during which its share price nearly halved in value as the company tried to broaden its reach as a healthcare provider.

Walgreens has been looking to expand beyond its core business, with acquisitions of healthcare services operator VillageMD and urgent-care provider Summit Health over the past few years.

The company has been closing stores and cutting jobs to streamline its operations. CNN also reported on Friday that pharmacy employees at some U.S. Walgreens stores plan a walkout between Monday and Wednesday.

(Reporting by Manas Mishra and Urvi Dugar in Bengaluru; Editing by Rashmi Aich and Devika Syamnath)