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Rite Aid names CEO

BY Marianne Wilson

Rite Aid Corp. has appointed a healthcare veteran as its CEO. She is the second female CEO in the chain’s history.

Rite Aid named Heyward Donigan as CEO and a member of the board, effective immediately. As planned, John Standley will step down from his role as chief executive in connection with her appointment. (Mary Sammon served as CEO of Rite Aid from 2003-2010.)

Donigan’s background reflects the increasingly prominent role that healthcare services and digital expertise play in the evolving drug store marketplace. Most recently, she served as president and CEO of Sapphire Digital (formerly Vitals), which designs and develops omnichannel platforms that help consumers choose their best fit healthcare providers. Since 2015, she led Sapphire Digital’s strategy and operations to record growth and consumer engagement.

Prior to Sapphire, Donigan was president and CEO of ValueOptions, then the nation’s largest independent behavioral health improvement company. Previously, she served as executive VP and chief chief marketing officer at Premera Blue Cross, responsible for driving profitable growth across the individual, small group, mid-market and national account businesses.

“Today’s announcement is an important step in positioning Rite Aid for the future, and we are confident that Heyward is the right person to lead the company in capitalizing on the opportunities in the evolving healthcare environment,” said Bruce Bodaken, chairman, Rite Aid. “Over the past several months the Rite Aid Board conducted a thorough search, and Heyward’s strong senior executive experience, proven leadership capabilities and consistent track record of driving profitable growth, as well as her broad healthcare knowledge and digital shopping technology expertise set her apart. Her skillset will be invaluable as we work to deliver on the full potential of our business and create additional long-term value for our shareholders, associates, customers and patients.”

In March, Rite Aid announced a restructuring plan that included a reduction of 400 corporate positions, aimed at saving about $55 million annually. The company also announced that Standley would step down as CEO, staying on until the appointment of his successor.

“I’d like to thank our talented Rite Aid team for their dedication and support in taking great care of our customers and patients throughout my tenure,” said Standley. “I have tremendous confidence in this team and I’m excited about the future prospects of this company.”

Rite Aid, which generated fiscal 2019 annual revenue of $21.6 billion, operates 2,466 stores in 18 states and has pharmacy benefit management (PBM) capabilities through EnvisionRxOptions and its affiliates.

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