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.”