WBA taps new CFO with pharma, CPG pedigree
Walgreens Boots Alliance on Thursday named James Kehoe, recently CFO and board director of Takeda Pharmaceutical, as the company’s executive vice president and global CFO, effective June 1. He will be based at the company’s headquarters in Deerfield, Ill.
“We are pleased to welcome James Kehoe to lead the Walgreens Boots Alliance global finance operations as the company now moves into our exciting future as a global leader in health and wellbeing,” Jim Skinner, Walgreens Boots Alliance executive chairman, said. “His significant leadership experience in both health care and consumer goods makes him an exceptional fit and addition to Stefano Pessina’s senior executive team and the company.”
Kehoe will succeed George Fairweather, who has served as Walgreens Boots Alliance global CFO since February 2015. Fairweather has been instrumental in the formation of Walgreens Boots Alliance, the subsequent integration of the legacy companies, the new enterprise’s major cost-transformation program and the establishment of the combined global financial organization.
Fairweather will become a senior advisor to CEO Stefano Pessina for business development and finance, also effective June 1.
“We are excited to have another world-class chief financial officer join Walgreens Boots Alliance and the senior management team to follow George. James’s extensive experience in finance in the pharma-related health care and consumer goods sectors, as well as helping ensure optimal business performance, will be instrumental as we move to the next phase of our long-term strategy for growth and value creation,” Pessina said. “After working and collaborating for over 16 years with George going back to Alliance UniChem, I want to extend my personal heartfelt appreciation for his invaluable leadership, counsel and significant contributions to our enterprise. He was indispensable to the formation of Alliance Boots and the successful creation of Walgreens Boots Alliance. Over the past three years, George has led key integration efforts, the successful cost-transformation program and the establishment of an outstanding global financial team and function.”
Kehoe has been CFO of Takeda Pharmaceutical since June 2016 and was based in Tokyo, reporting directly to the company’s president and CEO. He was appointed to the Takeda Pharmaceutical board of directors in June 2017. Kehoe is an accomplished finance executive from the consumer goods sector and a business leader with a track record of driving operational business performance.
Kehoe joined Takeda Pharmaceutical from Kraft Foods Group in the U.S., where he last held the role of executive vice president, CFO. Prior to that, he held a number of finance-related positions over 25 years with assignments based in Ireland, Germany, Italy, U.S., Austria, Switzerland and Canada.
“I believe there is no more important company at the junction of health care and retail than Walgreens Boots Alliance, and I am excited to be joining the team at such a pivotal moment in the company’s continuing transformation,” Kehoe said. “Moving forward, I appreciate that George will continue serving in an advisory role to help ensure a smooth transition and further success for the company.”
Target to expand several delivery services
On the heels of a strong performance sales-wise in its fourth quarter, Target announced a major rollout of several of its delivery services.
The retailer also announced it is raising its minimum hourly wage to $12 this year, part of its previously announced initiative to raise the minimum wage to $15 by 2020. The hike will start with existing associates.
On the delivery front, Target will expand “Drive Up,” its fastest delivery option, to nearly a thousand stores nationwide in 2018. The service, available through the Target app, allows shoppers to have their online orders brought out to their cars by a store associate within a couple minutes after arriving at the store.
In addition, the discounter also announced free two-day shipping on hundreds of thousands of items on Target.com with no membership required — an offer available when guests use their Target REDcard or spend more than $35.
Also, Target will expand its service that lets customers shop select urban stores and have their order delivered the same day for a flat fee. After last year’s successful pilot launch in four New York City stores, Target will roll out the service throughout the year to all stores in the five New York boroughs and select urban locations in Boston, Chicago, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.
Target is also expanding its “restock” overnight essentials delivery service. It will roll out in 2018 — to 40 markets total, covering nearly three-fourths of the U.S. population, by the end of the year.
“We’re always looking for ways to make it easier for our guests to get what they need on their terms,” said Mike McNamara, Target’s chief information and digital officer. “Thanks to investments in our supply chain and digital operations, we’re able use our stores to fulfill guests’ digital orders with flexibility and speed. With recent success, we’re eager to scale Drive Up and other fulfillment options to more guests in 2018.”
Target said it began testing its Drive-Up service last fall in the Twin Cities. With a nearly 10% increase in orders week over week since launch, it quickly became one of the highest rated fulfillment services shoppers in the area, the retailer said. Half of the shoppers that tried the service have used it again, according to Target.
The new service has been especially popular among shoppers with small children, with diapers and paper towels among the most ordered items through it. It’s also proven popular for purchases of bulky items, with cases of bottled water and soda, as well as home electronics like TVs, among the most ordered items.
‘No longer niche,’ Kroger increases presence at NatExpo West
Kroger on Tuesday shared its participation in the NatExpo West event in Anaheim, Calif. as part of its effort to continue building relationships with emerging brands.
“This is Kroger’s 16th year to participate in Expo West,” Jill McIntosh, Kroger vice president of natural foods, said. “Through our exclusive First Pitch and Town Hall events, we are increasing our presence and accessibility at the NatExpo West. This year is our biggest activation. We will have more than 40 Kroger representatives participate, ranging from buyers and category managers to merchandising executives.”
Kroger anticipates a robust number of suppliers engaging with the company’s representatives during its First Pitch event, which provides innovative, ready-to-go-to-market businesses the opportunity to present their products to the retailer.
“Our customers’ appetite for better-for-you products continues to grow year-over-year. The natural foods category has become mainstream — it is no longer a niche market,” added McIntosh. “Along with growing our Simple Truth brand, which reached $2 billion in annual sales in 2017, we will continue to focus on developing new partnerships at micro and macro levels to expand this category. Innovation is key in this space and this is one of the reasons we have attended Expo West since 2002 and recently started our Natural Foods Innovation Summit series.”
Kroger’s Town Hall will focus on its merchandising leaders sharing the Restock Kroger plan along with hosting discussions about ecommerce and Kroger Precision Marketing powered by 84.51° in front of an anticipated group of 500 individuals representing more than 270 suppliers. During the event, industry leaders, including CPGs and Kroger’s own Simple Truth and sustainability experts, will lead a panel about sustainable practices, a focus of the natural foods industry.
The Town Hall will also feature a celebrity chef tasting that spotlights Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste initiative, which aims to end hunger in its communities and eliminate food waste in its company by 2025. Kroger is partnering with three distinguished chefs — Roy Choi, Phillip Frankland Lee and Chelsea’s Messy Apron — to host the event.
Kroger will host its third Natural Foods Innovation Summit this June in Cincinnati, Ohio.