January 10, 2023 : Brewer, who heads Walgreens Boots Alliance, is only the second Black female to be anointed the permanent CEO of a Fortune 500 company following Ursula Burns evolved the head of Xerox in 2009. Brewer was also the foremost Black person and the first woman in her earlier roles as the COO at Starbucks and the CEO of Sam’s Club.
“In the course of my career, whether I was a bench chemist or a CEO, I have usually been a ‘first’ and unfortunately many times I’ve furthermore been the only African-American person in the boardroom or the C-suite,” Brewer informed Insider via email. “It’s changing, but not quickly adequately and there’s more work to do here.”
Brewer, 60, is pursuing a new first in her role at Walgreens: shifting the $33 billion pharmacy chain into a destination healthcare establishment.
After striding into power at America’s second-largest pharmacy during the most lethal disease event in US history, Brewer has been pursuing a wide-ranging approach to remake the company. In the past year, she directed Walgreens through several acquisitions, pushed technology investments, made internal changes to grow diversity and inclusion, and championed the notion of equity in discussions.
“The most significant lesson here is to question the status quo and make judgments, pull triggers,” Brewer expressed in a March video posted on the organization’s website. “This year has taught me to never compromise and to ask.”
If all proceeds according to Brewer’s vision, Walgreens will be as well understood for being a healthcare provider as it is for being a pharmacy. The establishment’s larger rival, CVS Health, is following a similar strategy of creating healthcare a more significant part of its industry.
“I desire my legacy as a business leader to be affordable, convenient, quality healthcare in the US, so I am most excited for next year to persist delivering on our company’s vision to reimagine local healthcare and well-being for all,” she informed Insider.
Portion of the way Walgreens intends to boost its healthcare offerings is via acquisitions. In November, the company said it would purchase Summit Health-CityMD, a chain of urgent-care and primary-care structures, for almost $9 billion. And in September, Walgreens stated it would spend more than $1.3 billion to snap up a remaining part in Shields Health Solutions. Shields specializes in specialty drugs utilized to treat complex or rare diseases.
“Distributing of pharmaceuticals is not going to be our long-term growth avenue,” Brewer spoke at a 2022 healthcare-industry conference, according to FierceHealthcare.
Her plan also includes investing in new technologies and advocating for a more important stake in mental-health therapy.