Merlo will continue legacy left behind by Ryan

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT'S IMPORTANT — As reported, CVS Caremark's annual meeting of stockholders was of special importance as it marked the beginning of a new chapter for both CVS Caremark and its former chairman and CEO Tom Ryan, who officially retired from the company after more than 30 years of service.

(THE NEWS: CVS' Merlo outlines factors for future growth. For the full story, click here)

Ryan, who began his career with CVS/pharmacy in 1974 as a pharmacy intern, told shareholders that he was fortunate to spend his 37 years with a company he "loved." He said it was the culture and the people that drew him to CVS. That love for CVS and passion for the pharmacy industry was undeniable as he held back tears and shareholders rose to give him a standing ovation for his years of dedication and hard work.

Under Ryan's leadership, CVS has grown from a regional drug store chain with revenues of $5 billion in 1994 to a pharmacy healthcare provider powerhouse with revenues nearing $100 billion. Over the years, CVS has transformed into an industry trailblazer with its innovative beauty concepts, highly successful loyalty card program and vertically integrated pharmacy-PBM model via the 2007 acquisition of Caremark.

Despite being a larger — much larger — company, Ryan said those same "traits and values" that attracted him to the company years ago still hold true today within CVS.

With the mark of a successful leader, Ryan has left the growing company in the hands of a strong, capable new leader — Larry Merlo. "I'm passing [the company over] to a great leader, one whom I respect and who knows this business. Larry will take this company to great heights," Ryan told shareholders.

Clearly, this is not an end of an era, but rather the beginning of a new chapter for the Woonsocket, R.I.-based powerhouse.

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