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Walgreens names first-ever chief diversity officer

BY Michael Johnsen

DEERFIELD, Ill. — Walgreens on Monday named Steve Pemberton the company’s divisional VP diversity and inclusion, making him the company’s first chief diversity officer.

“Diversity and inclusion are embedded in our DNA at Walgreens — no other drug store retailer serves more communities,” stated Kathleen Wilson-Thompson, SVP and chief human resources officer for Walgreens. “With Steve’s drive, impressive background and insight, we are confident he and his team will build upon the philosophy that diversity is less about what you look like, but more about what you think.”

Pemberton will be responsible for ensuring that Walgreens demonstrates cultural and workforce diversity, and will take the lead on directing activities to help serve diverse markets and populations, including customers in medically underserved areas, food deserts and urban areas.

In addition, Pemberton also will help strengthen relationships with diverse suppliers and communities.

Pemberton comes to Walgreens from the job-search engine Monster.com, where he served as chief diversity officer and VP diversity and inclusion. Prior to that, he was co-president, co-founder and COO of Road to College, the first Web-based admission counseling service. Earlier in his career, he was senior assistant director of multicultural admissions at Boston College, his alma mater. Pemberton earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in political science in 1989.

Pemberton will report to Wilson-Thompson.

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SmartSource looks to curb coupon fraud with QR codes

BY Allison Cerra

NEW YORK — SmartSource has enhanced its online coupons with Quick Response codes that can provide real-time identification of fraudulent coupons.

SmartSource’s website, SmartSource.com — which is operated by News Corp. division News America Marketing — began printing QR codes on all of its coupons earlier this year. The QR codes are encoded and encrypted with technology that allows smartphone users and retailer personnel to determine if a coupon is valid or fraudulent. How it works: a scanned QR code retrieves information on that specific coupon from a SmartSource database and instantly returns information that either validates the offer or alerts the user or retailer that the coupon was not legitimately created.

QR codes can be scanned by smartphone users with a standard 2-D code scanning application sold through iTunes or other app sites.

"As of today, any SmartSource.com branded coupon that does not have a QR code should be considered fraudulent and therefore not accepted by any retailer," said Henri Lellouche, News America Marketing SVP and general manager of the SmartSource iGroup. "News America Marketing will continue to develop antifraud measures to protect its clients and will assist in every way possible the prosecution to the fullest extent of the law anyone caught attempting to use or traffic fraudulent SmartSource.com coupons."

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Safeway announces 11th annual prostate cancer awareness campaign

BY Allison Cerra

PLEASANTON, Calif. — Safeway once again is raising funds to support prostate cancer research.

The retailer said that its month-long annual prostate cancer campaign, now in its 11th year, seeks to raise funds that will be donated to prostate cancer research. Safeway has donated more than $65.4 million to date.

“Safeway is committed to funding research that will lead to a cure for prostate cancer,” said Safeway chairman, president and CEO Steve Burd. “Our unique ability to reach millions of shoppers each week not only allows us the opportunity to raise money for research but to also share the message about the importance of early detection and treatment.”

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