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New Walgreens CEO Roz Brewer will be only Black woman leading Fortune 500 company

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Former Starbucks executive Roz Brewer will become the only Black woman to lead a Fortune 500 company when she assumes her new role as the CEO of Walgreens.

The pharmacy company announced Tuesday that Brewer will begin leading the company and take over as its CEO on March 15. Brewer’s departure from Starbucks, where she served as chief operating officer and group president, was announced on Tuesday as well, according to The Associated Press.

Brewer will be taking over from Stefano Pessina, who has been CEO of Walgreens for six years. He will move on to hold the role of executive chairman of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc.’s board, AP reported.

“She is a distinguished and experienced executive who has led organizations globally through periods of changing consumer behavior by applying innovation that elevates customer experiences,” Pessina said of Brewer’s qualifications for her new role.

Corporate America has come under pressure to increase the diversity of its management and boards, particularly after last year’s campaigns for racial justice. 

Before she took on the role of COO for Starbucks, where she revamped stores, increased customer service and pushed for more diversity, Brewer served as president and chief executive officer of Sam’s Club for three years. There, she helped to grow membership and improve merchandise.

Brewer stated that she is excited for this new chapter in her career and welcomes the opportunity to continue to help Walgreens innovate as it helps to combat the coronavirus pandemic, AP reported.

“I step into this role with great optimism for the future of WBA,” Brewer said.

Ursula Burns became the first Black woman to head a Fortune 500 company back in 2009 when she served as the CEO of Xerox. She later lost the role after the company split into two in 2016.

Tags CEO Fortune 500 Starbucks Walgreens
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