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EVP Taylor, Walgreens part company over ‘impasse’

BY Jim Frederick

DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreen Co. confirmed today it has severed its relationship with veteran company executive Trent Taylor, president of Walgreens Health Services and one of the highest-ranking members of the company’s management team.

Company officials were mum about the factors that led to Taylor’s departure, but a new company financial filing indicates the two sides may have been at odds over questions of management succession.

Taylor was one of three corporate executive vice presidents at Walgreens as well as head of its managed care and specialty pharmacy division, a position he assumed last April with the elevation of WHS’ former chief, Greg Wasson, to Walgreens president and chief operating officer. Prior to that, he was executive vice president and chief information officer.

Taylor joined Walgreens in 1992 as manager of information systems, but his relationship with the company began the previous decade when he served as a consultant to Walgreens while at Ernst & Young in Chicago. In that capacity, he was instrumental in the development of the vaunted Strategic Inventory Management System.

SIMS is often credited as a cornerstone of Walgreens’ success and profitability in the 1990s and beyond. The system laid the cornerstone for a much smarter and more cost-efficient order-entry and merchandising process at the company by cutting down excessive inventory levels, boosting merchandising efficiency and responding rapidly to changing local in-stock conditions and customer demand patterns.

Taylor was one of a group of talented architects at Walgreens who developed that system; the list also includes Randy Lewis, now senior vice president of distribution and logistics; and John Gleeson, now senior vice president of corporate strategy. His efforts as Walgreens’ chief information officer gained recognition in 2004, when Drug Store News honored him as REX technology executive of the year.

The company was tight-lipped about Taylor’s abrupt departure. A Walgreens spokesman said he couldn’t comment on the termination, but he referred Drug Store News to the company’s most recent 8k financial filing with the SEC, in which Walgreens provided sketchy details.

“The senior management of Walgreen Co. has concluded that its discussions with Trent E. Taylor regarding Mr. Taylor’s role have reached an impasse,” noted the report. “As a result, Mr. Taylor’s employment…was terminated on January 7, 2008.”

Replacing Taylor as president of Walgreens Health Services is Stanley Blaylock, who has also been promoted to corporate senior vice president. Blaylock, 44, was previously corporate vice president and senior VP of specialty pharmacy and home care for WHS.

A former investment banker, Blaylock joined Walgreens in 2006 with the company’s acquisition of Pittsburgh-based Medmark Specialty Pharmacy Solutions, where he was president and chief executive officer. After the acquisition, he led Walgreens specialty pharmacy and home care business, which now includes Option Care, Inc., a specialty pharmacy and home infusion services provider acquired by Walgreens in August 2007.

In another management shift, Walgreens promoted vice president of purchasing David Van Howe to a corporate vice president. Van Howe, 49, joined Walgreens in 2000 as general merchandise manager of beauty and fashion. He was promoted to a divisional vice president in 2004 and oversaw the purchasing department’s health and wellness division before being named vice president of purchasing last April.

Van Howe has more than 30 years of retail experience with Kmart, Arbor Drugs and CVS/pharmacy, which acquired Arbor in 1998.

On Jan. 9, Walgreens also elected Alejandro Silva to its board of directors. Silva, chairman and chief executive officer of Chicago-based Evans Food Group, Ltd., replaced James Howard, who retired.

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Industry companies go eco-friendly

BY Michael Johnsen

New York A highlight of green-friendly companies and what they’re doing:

Whole Foods—The chain last month ditched plastic in its Austin, Texas-area stores in favor of planet-friendly bags, giving consumers a choice between free 100-percent recycled paper bags or the purchase of either a reusable canvas bag or plastic tote. “Austin is serving as a test market for the company with steps in the direction for a companywide ban at checkout early next year,” stated Whole Foods spokeswoman Kate Lowery.

Wal-Mart—In addition to stocking environmentally friendly products in its aisles, Wal-Mart recently introduced reusable shopping bags. The bags, which will be available at all Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and discount stores, are offered at $1 each and are made of recycled polyethylene terephthalate, a woven fabric derived from recycled plastic bottles. According to Wal-Mart’s Live Better Index survey last year, 43 percent of Americans think they will be “extremely green” in the next five years. To help appeal to this growing green consumerism, Wal-Mart has introduced a store-brand compact fluorescent light bulb, which consumes less energy and tracks the adoption of CFCs state by state. Also, Wal-Mart has retooled its laundry detergent planogram to present only concentrated-liquid detergents. The changeover is currently underway in the Southern region, will extend to the North and Midwest regions by the end of next month and finish in the retailer’s East Coast locations by April 2008.

Safeway—Safeway last year converted its truck fleet to B20 biodiesel fuel—fuel that is 20 percent biodiesel made from domestically manufactured virgin soybean oil. The conversion will reduce Safeway’s carbon dioxide gas output by 3,603 metric tons — equivalent to 780 passenger cars not being driven for one year. And the grocer was awarded last year with California’s 2007 Environmental and Economic Leadership Award for Climate Change in recognition of all of the chain’s green-friendly initiatives.

Abbott Laboratories—Abbott last year received the annual Illinois Governor’s Pollution Prevention Award for outstanding environmental excellence for the sixth time in the last seven years. Abbott has been recognized for implementing pollution prevention projects at its pharmaceutical fermentation manufacturing operations in Chicago in 2006. The company also has committed to going “carbon neutral” with its U.S. auto fleet through the use of hybrids and other fuel-efficient vehicles, and implemented an energy policy with specific goals that include reducing carbon dioxide emissions by 30 percent by 2011.

S.C. Johnson—Named one of the top 10 leading green companies by Forbes, the company recently instituted its Greenlist process, a classification system that evaluates the impact of thousands of raw materials on human and environmental health. By using Greenlist, S.C. Johnson eliminated 1.8 million pounds of volatile organic compounds from Windex and 4 million pounds of polyvinylidene chloride from Saran Wrap. The company licenses Greenlist royalty-free to other firms that want to use it.

Pentel—The company features a line of products under its Recycology banner, made from at least 50 percent, and up to 100 percent, of recycled content or post-consumer recycled content. The line of products includes pens, markers, pencils, lead, tape and, most recently, umbrellas.

Physicians Formula—The cosmetics company last year introduced a new organic line called Organic Wear. “It is important to note that we will be the first to introduce a 100-percent natural certified organic makeup line to the food, drug and mass channel,” said Ingrid Jackel, Physicians Formula’s chief executive officer. Organic Wear will be the first eco-certified, colored cosmetic line in the United States, she said.

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Alejandro Silva named to Walgreens board of directors; executive promotions announced

BY Adam Kraemer

DEERFIELD, Ill. Alejandro Silva, chairman and chief executive officer of Chicago-based Evans Food Group, has been elected to Walgreens board of directors as an independent director, effective Jan. 9, according to reports.

“We welcome to the board Alejandro’s experience in building a successful consumer products company over the past 22 years,” said Jeffrey Rein, Walgreens chairman and chief executive officer. “His ideas and insight will help us stay abreast of changing consumer habits.”

Seven years after entered the food business in Mexico in 1972, Silva founded a business venture, Alimentos Finos del Norte, in Saltillo, Mexico. In 1985, he acquired Evans Food Group with his brother and another partner, turning it into the world’s largest pork rind snack manufacturer and the largest Hispanic-owned business in Chicago.

Silva has been awarded the Double Eagle Award from the United States-Mexico Chamber of Commerce; the Latino Globalist Award; Chicago United Business Leaders of Color member; Chicago Area Entrepreneurship Hall of Fame member; and the U.S. Department of Commerce Minority Enterprises Development Agency Award.

The company also announced that James Howard is retiring from the board.

Walgreens also announced the following executive promotions:

  • Stanley Blaylock, 44, previously Walgreens corporate vice president and senior vice president of specialty pharmacy and home care for Walgreens Health Services, the managed care division of Walgreens, has been promoted to a corporate senior vice president and president of Walgreens Health Services. Blaylock replaces Trent Taylor, who has left his position at Walgreens.
  • David Van Howe, 49, has been promoted from vice president of purchasing to a corporate vice president. Van Howe joined Walgreens in 2000 as general merchandise manager of beauty and fashion. He was promoted to a divisional vice president in 2004 and oversaw the purchasing department’s health and wellness division before being named vice president of purchasing last April. He has more than 30 years of retail experience, including operations and purchasing positions with Kmart, Arbor Drugs and CVS/pharmacy.

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