Gleeson to retire as Walgreen’s chief strategy officer

DEERFIELD, Ill. The Walgreen Co. on Tuesday announced that senior vice president and chief strategy officer John W. Gleeson, 61, is retiring at the end of the month after more than 45 years with the company.

Starting in the company as a stock clerk in 1962, Gleeson made the move to the corporate offices in 1969 after graduating from the University of Illinois. He has served as an analyst in the results department, divisional vice president of marketing systems and services, and vice president of corporate strategy and treasurer. He was named to his current position in 2007. 

“John was an ‘idea’ guy throughout his career,” said Walgreens chairman and chief executive officer Jeffrey Rein. “He conceptualized the freestanding store concept, which Walgreens pioneered and has been pivotal to our growth since the early 1990s. He also headed our Strategic Inventory Management System project, which has saved billions of dollars in inventory investment. Most recently, John has led the work on our health care service initiatives. All of us at Walgreens thank him for his countless contributions and wish him a productive and enjoyable retirement.”

Robert G. Zimmerman, 56, vice president of corporate development, will lead the strategy group. He has been with the company for 30 years, including a 16-year stint with Walgreens Health Services.

The company also announced that Howard Atlas, 47, a vice president of store operations, has been named to the new position of vice president of health and wellness integration. “Howard will bring understanding of our operations to Take Care Health, while also bringing Take Care expertise to Walgreens,” said Rein. “By the end of calendar 2008, we’ll have more than 400 stores with Take Care Health Clinics. We acquired Take Care last year to offer patients treatment for acute conditions by health professionals. But that is just the beginning. We also plan to develop convenience-oriented health and wellness services such as vaccinations, wellness management, monitoring of chronic diseases and administration of infused or injected specialty drugs.”

Rein also stated that Take Care would “provide more convenient access to quality, routine health care at an affordable cost to patients and payers, including employers.”

“With the 7,000 easily accessible stores we’ll have nationwide within two years,” he said, “we’re better positioned than any other retailer to succeed in offering this new level of health care.”

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