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Stefano Pessina      

Executive Vice Chairman & Chief Executive Officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.

Stefano Pessina is the Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance. Previously he was Executive Chairman of Alliance Boots, a leading international, pharmacy-led health & beauty group.

The Group was created in July 2006 as a result of the merger between Alliance UniChem and Boots Group; it was subsequently acquired and privatised in July 2007 by AB Acquisitions Ltd (a company jointly controlled by Stefano Pessina and certain funds advised by Kohlberg Kravis Roberts).

Stefano is truly the architect of the Group. Born in Italy, he graduated in nuclear engineering from the Milan Polytechnic before starting his career in academia and later joining market research firm ACNielsen in Milan. In the mid-1970’s, he joined his family’s local pharmaceutical wholesale business. His vision of an international pharmaceutical group dates back to that time. Stefano re-structured the family company and then acquired a number of other small pharmaceutical wholesale businesses to create Alleanza Farmaceutica in 1977, which later became Alleanza Salute Italia. By 1985, he was overseeing Italy’s leading pharmaceutical wholesaler.

In 1988, Stefano expanded his business into several Southern European countries through mergers, acquisitions and partnerships. The Alliance Santé Group was born in 1991 of these acquisitions and of an innovative merger with some French wholesalers.

This was to be the springboard for further international expansion. In 1998, Alliance Santé merged with the UK business UniChem to form the Alliance UniChem Group, of which Stefano was CEO until 2004, before taking on the role of Executive Deputy Chairman. In just a few years, he developed Alliance UniChem from a primarily pharmaceutical wholesaler with a presence in a few countries to a pan-European leader with two core businesses, pharmaceutical wholesale and retail pharmacy, in more than 12 countries.

In 2006, Stefano orchestrated the merger of Alliance UniChem Plc with Boots Group PLC to form Alliance Boots plc. In 2007, together with KKR, he created AB Acquisitions and acquired Alliance Boots with the aim of growing the Group further and faster to enhance its position as an international leader in the healthcare services and beauty industries.

In 2012, Stefano took a crucial step forward towards achieving his vision of forging a global leader through the strategic partnership between Alliance Boots and Walgreens – the largest drug store chain in the US. This partnership, which aims to create the first global pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing enterprise, marks a positive milestone for the healthcare industry as a whole.

In March 2013, Alliance Boots and Walgreens together announced their innovative long-term partnership with AmerisourceBergen, one of North America’s largest pharmaceutical services companies. This relationship will enable the three companies to benefit from greater scale and global opportunities and work together on programs to improve service levels and efficiencies.

Today, Alliance Boots is a leading international pharmacy-led health and beauty group, offering a wide range of products and services to customers working in close partnership with manufacturers and pharmacists. Its two core business activities are pharmacy-led health and beauty retailing and pharmaceutical wholesaling and distribution. Alliance Boots is privately-owned and employs over 108,000 people. Its wholesale and distribution network serves over 170,000 pharmacies, doctors, health centres and hospitals from over 370 pharmaceutical wholesale distribution centres. It operates more than 3,100 health and beauty retail stores in 9 countries, of which just over 3,000 have a pharmacy.

As well as heading the Alliance Boots Board and executive team, Stefano is non-executive Director of a number of the Group’s businesses and associates. In addition, he also sits on the Board of Walgreens as its largest shareholder. He is recognised as a driving force in the healthcare industry and has received a number of awards and distinctions for his contribution to the sector.


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