Tim Wentworth, newly appointed Walgreens CEO (Credit: PR Newswire)

Wal­greens hires long­time Cigna ex­ec­u­tive Tim Went­worth as CEO

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In­vestors and an­a­lysts are op­ti­mistic about Wal­greens’ new chief ex­ec­u­tive ap­point­ment as the re­tail phar­ma­cy gi­ant grap­ples with staffing chal­lenges and phar­ma­cist walk­outs.

Wal­greens an­nounced for­mer Cigna ex­ec­u­tive Tim Went­worth as the new chief ex­ec­u­tive late Tues­day night, ahead of fourth quar­ter earn­ings com­ing Thurs­day and amid re­cent phar­ma­cist walk­outs to protest un­safe work­ing con­di­tions that have left stores shut­tered or un­der­staffed across the na­tion.

The ap­point­ment fol­lows the sud­den de­par­ture of Ros­alind Brew­er, who stepped down as chief ex­ec­u­tive in Sep­tem­ber af­ter less than three years helm­ing the com­pa­ny. Be­fore Wal­greens, Brew­er served as Star­bucks’ chief op­er­at­ing of­fi­cer. Wal­greens’ stock plum­met­ed 32% since Jan­u­ary at the time of her de­par­ture. The com­pa­ny al­so low­ered its full-year earn­ings guid­ance in June.

Went­worth, who will start his new job lat­er this month, was for­mer­ly the chief ex­ec­u­tive of phar­ma­cy-ben­e­fit man­ag­er at Ex­press Scripts. Af­ter Cigna bought Ex­press Scripts in 2018, Went­worth led Cigna’s Ever­north health ser­vices arm.

An­a­lysts at in­vest­ment bank TD Cowen ap­proved of Went­worth’s ex­pe­ri­ence in health­care, which they said aligns with the re­tail phar­ma­cy chain’s re­cent push in­to health­care ser­vices.

“We be­lieve Mr. Went­worth’s ex­pe­ri­ence makes him par­tic­u­lar­ly well-suit­ed for man­ag­ing WBA’s PBM and pay­er re­la­tion­ships, es­pe­cial­ly as the com­pa­ny po­si­tions it­self as an in­de­pen­dent part­ner of choice in phar­ma­cy and health ser­vices,” the an­a­lysts wrote in a memo.

Shares of Wal­greens $WBA rose as much as 4% to $23 a share Wednes­day morn­ing when mar­kets opened.

“The WBA Board has been fo­cused on bring­ing in a CEO with deep health­care ex­pe­ri­ence, and we are pleased to wel­come Tim Went­worth,” Wal­greens ex­ec­u­tive chair­man Ste­fano Pessi­na said in a state­ment. “We are con­fi­dent he is the right per­son to lead WBA’s next phase of growth in­to a cus­tomer-cen­tric health­care com­pa­ny.”

Venture & Research Associate

Alexandria Real Estate Equities

San Francisco, CA, USA