Who to follow

BY Drug Store News Team

October sure was a busy month for news in the drug channel. It began in earnest on Oct. 1, the day CVS’ new president officially began his new job. Before the month was over, CVS’ chief merchant left to become president of Family Dollar, and his responsibilities would be carved up between three key executives.

At Walgreens, the changes — and there were many in October — helped to create a structure that will help it evolve into a “daily living products and solutions” store. Meanwhile, Canada’s two biggest drug chains emerged with new leaders, taking over at a time of immense change in that country’s highly fragmented pharmacy market.

What impact will these individuals have on their companies? What impact will they have on your companies? In the spirit of one of the most ubiquitous social media applications, a “little birdie” told us to share a list of the people DSN is following and why.


Mark Cosby president, CVS/pharmacy

As Madison, Wis.-native Mark Cosby settles into his new role as president of CVS/pharmacy, the industry is eagerly waiting to learn more about this former Macy’s executive. Cosby, who spent the earlier years of his career in food service before moving to retail in 2002, has gained a reputation for being not only an #innovator but also a #motivator. Word on the street is that he has been said to start meetings by having attendees run in place. Whether or not that is indeed the case, what is known is that while serving as COO of KFC, he initiated the co-branded stores with two eateries under the same roof. He also is credited with being the brains behind KFC’s popular popcorn chicken. It will be interesting to see how Cosby’s vision and innovative spirit will play out within retail pharmacy.


Judy Strauss SansoneSVP merchandising, CVS/pharmacy

In a move that has received praise from several industry players, Judy Strauss Sansone has taken the reins of CVS’ merchandising team in her new role as SVP merchandising. This approachable, #SmartAndSavvyMerchant is no stranger to the disciplines of CVS, having been with the retailer for more than 30 years. Over the years, the well-respected exec has gained experience at various ends of the merchandising team, including stops as VP merchandising and pricing, VP healthcare merchandising and VP retail innovation and store design. She also was part of the core integration team that brought into the fold Eckerd, Osco, Sav-On and Longs Drug. The industry may not see a dramatic strategic shift, but Sansone’s new role likely will create — both internally and externally — a different type of openness.


Robert Price chief marketing officer, CVS/pharmacy

Rob Price may prefer to stay out of the limelight, or so it seems, but that in no ways means that this seasoned executive lacks expertise and enthusiasm. Drawing on his 20-plus years of retail, strategy and marketing experience, the chief marketing officer has taken on an expanded role in the areas of retail innovation and store design. Price has been charged with more tightly integrating the store and digital environments to create a more #PersonalizedShoppingExperience. Price has been known to #LookBeyondTraditional forms of advertising, leveraging multimedia and entertainment campaigns to bolster company recognition. Price once said, “While the marketing applications of these technological advancements can be exciting, how you tap into them to create extensions of the brand experience is most important.”


Frank ScorpinitiCEO, Rexall/Katz Group Canada

Bright. Dynamic. Inquisitive. These are some of the words that people use to describe the incoming CEO of Rexall/Katz Group. But Scorpiniti also has developed a strong reputation for building #patient-centric, pharmacy services programs — particularly at Duane Reade where his work included the Diabetes Resource Center and in-store clinics. This kind of 
#Forward-LookingThinking will serve Scorpiniti and the company well, particularly as Rexall/Katz, like its Canadian competitors, figures its way around drastic cuts in generic drug pricing. Independents will be particularly hard hit, and it is expected that this will set off a wave of acquisition activity. Interestingly, this is another area in which Scorpiniti has some considerable experience, going back to his days at Longs, and there are those that expect Rexall/Katz to be fairly aggressive with acquisitions.


Domenic Pilla president and CEO, Shoppers Drug Mart

Domenic Pilla inherits a chain that is wrestling not only with competitive challenges, but also with the impact of drug reforms in several provinces and a legal battle with the Ontario government over the province’s regulations last year that sought to prevent pharmacies from selling their own lower-priced versions in place of name-brand drugs. Pilla likely will be working to mend the fences with government, while also standing up for the #InterestsOfRetailPharmacy — quite a balancing act. Fortunately for Shoppers, Pilla has been praised for his collaborative ability and passion for the industry.


Mike Bloom — president and COO, Family Dollar

The move to Family Dollar gives Mike Bloom a chance to put the stamp of his leadership on a company that is the clear No. 2 in a very dynamic channel. Usually that means focusing on the things you know. For Bloom, that’s the drug store business — particularly, #HealthAndBeauty. Most are expecting Bloom to bring more of the drug store product mix to Family Dollar — much the way Dollar General has behind its leadership team of former drug store guys. Could one of these companies emerge one day soon with a $3 generic program? Bloom is a #ToughNegotiator — something vendors expect he will change about Family Dollar.


Joe Magnacca president of daily living products and solutions, Walgreens

Joe Magnacca has a unique vision for the drug store shopping experience. He isn’t afraid to test #NewConcepts; the company’s new flagship store at 40 Wall St. in New York is a testament to that. His very title reflects the way he looks at pharmacy retailing — a “daily living products and solutions” store. This also has meant major changes in Walgreens’ merchandising and marketing teams. Change can create uncertainty, but vendors regard Magnacca as #approachable and “a good match” with president and CEO Greg Wasson — and when there is clear alignment from the boardroom to the stores, vendors know how they can fit in.


Moe Alkemade VP retail brands and global sourcing, Walgreens



Frank Grilli divisional VP/GMM regional procurement, Walgreens



Rachel BishopVP daily living strategies and business development, Walgreens


Try not to get caught in the trap of speculating on any internal politics behind the recent restructuring that now has these three, highly talented professionals reporting directly to Joe Magnacca. It’s about #synergy. The number of reports doesn’t matter — this is about assembling a #DreamTeam that has the components to match the company’s vision of what it wants to represent to customers every day. And, Alkemade, Grilli and Bishop — given their roles for private brand, local sourcing and strategy — all are central to the mission of evolving Walgreens from a “drug store” to a “daily living and solutions” store. This group will help make Walgreens different; Pugh’s team will make it all come to life.


Bryan Pugh —  VP merchandising, chief merchandising officer, Walgreens

Bryan Pugh has been tasked with making Joe Magnacca’s #Front-EndMerchandisingVision pop across the chain. The near-term challenge for Pugh will be to bring his merchant teams up to speed on what will be new responsibilities for many without impeding Walgreens’ current momentum. Pugh brings to Walgreens a diverse outlook on merchandising with his mass merchant and supermarket experiences at Walmart and Tesco. Along with Magnacca, Pugh is looking to create a whole #NewVision for drug store front-end retailing.


Robert TompkinsGMM health and wellness, front-end services and general merchandise, Walgreens


Shannon Curtin GMM beauty, personal care and seasonal, Walgreens



Steven BroughtonGMM food, beverages and household consumables, Walgreens


Walgreens’ triumvirate of wellness, beauty and fresh is now represented in these three executives. A @Walgreens devotee since his days as a pharmacy tech, Tompkins has great vision for health and wellness, especially in featuring new products. He has a reputation for integrity and openness. #FairButTough. Broughton was accustomed to a much higher velocity across food items at Walmart, but with Walgreens’ commitment to 1,000 stores serving #FoodDeserts, the volume of food sold through Walgreens should increase dramatically. Curtin is successfully blending the first-to-market disciplines of Walmart with the intimacy of Walgreens. The key will be making a concept like Duane Reade’s #LookBoutique relevant to suburban moms.


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Kiss My Face names CEO

BY Antoinette Alexander

GARDINER, N.Y. — Kiss My Face, a maker of natural personal care, has named Steve Michaelson as CEO.

The industry veteran has held high-level leadership positions at a diverse set of retailers, including chief marketing officer at Supervalu, CEO of Internet retailer Fresh Direct and SVP of Wegmans.

Michaelson became a fan of the Kiss My Face brand at Wegmans when building its Nature’s Marketplace, the supermarket industry’s first natural food and personal care “store within a store” during the 1990s. In addition to retailing, Michaelson has extensive experience in brand and product management with such companies as Sara Lee and Procter & Gamble.

“Kiss My Face is a great brand, with an outstanding line of natural products. I look forward to working with the passionate Kiss My Face team, helping more customers develop the affection to the Kiss My Face brand that I have had for many years,” Michaelson stated.

Ron Gordon, Kiss My Face’s chairman, added, “The new management team at Kiss My Face is dedicated to building our future success around the essence of the current tag line ‘Passionately Natural, Incredibly Effective’ — great natural products that provide the natural products industry’s best efficacy.”


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P&G-sponsored survey unveils gaps in oral health knowledge, access to care among U.S. Hispanics

BY Antoinette Alexander

SAN DIEGO — The majority of Hispanics in the United States believe that more information about good oral health habits, access to affordable oral health care, and more Hispanic and Spanish-speaking dentists and dental hygienists in their communities would help them "a lot" in achieving better oral health. That’s according to the findings of a national survey led by the Hispanic Dental Association and sponsored by Procter & Gamble brands Crest and Oral-B.

The survey examined U.S. Hispanics’ perceptions and attitudes about oral health care, barriers toward achieving good oral health and the role of influencers in passing along oral health habits. The survey, "Hispanics Open Up About Oral Health Care," is part of an initiative by the HDA, Crest and Oral-B to raise the profile of the state of oral health among Hispanics, the fastest-growing minority group in the country, representing 16% of the total U.S. population.

The survey was conducted among 1,000 Hispanic adults and 1,000 adults from the general population ages 18 years and older who live in the continental United States.

The survey found that knowledge gaps (oral health literacy), high cost (access to affordable care and insurance) and language/culture differences (Hispanic/Spanish-speaking dental health professionals) are barriers to many Hispanics in achieving good oral health. Specifically, the results found:

  • When asked if cavities will go away on their own if you brush regularly, almost one-third of Hispanics (30%) responded that they believe this statement is true or did not know the answer, when in fact the statement is false;

  • About half or more Hispanics also incorrectly answered true/false statements or were uncertain about the importance of brushing versus flossing, whether bleeding is normal during brushing and if mouthwash provides oral health benefits beyond just freshening breath;

  • Close to half (45%) of Hispanics lacked dental insurance and nearly 1-out-of-5 (18%) have not visited the dentist at all in the past two years, compared with 12% of the general population; and

  • Approximately 6-out-of-10 Hispanics believed that a higher representation of Spanish-speaking and Hispanic dentists/hygienists in their community would help them "a lot" in achieving and maintaining better oral health.

Other survey findings included:

  • While most Hispanics, as well as the general population, rated their overall oral health as excellent or good, Hispanics experience more oral health problems;

  • 65% of Hispanics said they experienced at least one oral health issue in the past year, versus 53% of the general population. For more than one-third of Hispanics (36%), oral health problems experienced in the past year were severe enough to impact their daily activities, compared with 22% of the general population;

  • Among Hispanic parents, many of these same knowledge gaps exist, as does the desire for more oral health information. Yet, 8-out-of-10 Hispanic parents (82%) considered themselves an excellent or a good source for teaching their children about oral health habits; and

  • Aside from their dentist, Hispanics rely mostly on their parents and physician for oral health education and information.

As a first step following the survey, the HDA, Crest and Oral-B have collaborated on an informational brochure highlighting key facts and debunking top misperceptions about oral care that will be placed in dental offices and other public areas nationwide.

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