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Whole Foods appoints David Lannon, Ken Meyer as new VPs operations

BY Allison Cerra

AUSTIN, Texas — Whole Foods has promoted two of its regional presidents to new roles.

David Lannon and Ken Meyer, who respectively served as regional president for the Northern California since 2007 and regional president of Mid-Atlantic region since 2005, now are part of the supermarket retailer’s executive team — which now includes seven members — and will have 12 regional presidents report to them. Lannon and Meyer will begin transitioning into their new roles over the next month, with Lannon residing in Northern California and Meyer in the Washington, D.C., area. Both will frequent the company’s headquarters in Austin, Texas.

"Ken and David are top flight, proven leaders who bring fresh operating experience at a time when we are stepping up our growth," Whole Foods co-CEO Walter Robb said. "They are young but seasoned, bringing their valuable perspective to the table immediately while contributing well into the future."

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Former Longs Drug Stores CEO Roath joins Altierre’s board

BY Antoinette Alexander

SAN JOSE, Calif. — Altierre, a provider of ultra low-power wireless solutions for retailers, has announced that retail industry veteran and former Longs Drug Stores CEO Steve Roath has joined the company’s board of directors.

“The addition of Steve Roath to our board affirms that industry leaders who understand the power of our technology believe in its ability to solve critical problems and deliver productivity improvements for large retail chains,” Altierre CEO Sunit Saxena said. “In addition to his wealth of contacts, we will benefit tremendously from Steve’s insider’s perspective into the complexities of retail management, both at the store and the chain level.”

Altierre recently announced several key milestones achieved in 2011, including record revenue growth and surpassing the one million mark in both RF chips and digital signs shipped. Altierre’s proprietary wireless technology is operating in more than 1,000 retail stores across the country. This technology delivers cost savings, additional revenue opportunities and other important benefits for several of the largest national chains representing department stores, grocery, drug and convenience stores.

“Online retailing is adding a dynamic element to the already highly competitive retail environment,” Roath said. “Bricks-and-mortar retailers have to become more nimble and dynamic in their promotional offerings without further increasing the complexities of store level execution. Even with traditional weekly offerings, most retailers are challenged to maintain price accuracy and customer service in the face of shrinking resource availability. It is time for retailers to leverage the latest developments in technology and bring the stores into the digital age. Altierre’s wireless platform and applications offer sophistication and innovation that far surpass anything else I’ve seen in their ability to cost effectively enable promotions, reduce paper waste, assure price accuracy and impact the bottom line. I’m truly excited to be associated with what I consider to be a revolution for retail.”

Roath joined Longs as an intern in 1964 and held increasingly responsible positions within the company, including store manager, pharmacy manager, manager of marketing operations and VP pharmacy. He was named president in 1991 and CEO in 2000. He is credited with moving Longs into e-commerce by establishing the company’s first email prescription refill system. He retired in 2002. He is now associated with Encore Associates, a food and consumer products consulting firm based in San Ramon, Calif.

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NACDS gets ready to fight back against PBMs

BY Antoinette Alexander

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — With the clock ticking on the Express Scripts-Medco deal and amped up messaging coming out of the PBM lobby, NACDS vows to roll up its sleeves and make a fist.

(THE NEWS: NACDS lays down gauntlet against PBM lobby at Regional Chain Conference. For the full story, click here)

As the article states, NACDS used the recent Regional Chain Conference to introduce the PBM threat as a new, third pillar to its menu of critical policy issues it currently faces. In addition to NACDS running ads that tell the industry’s simple story, "Pharmacies. The face of neighborhood health care," NACDS president and CEO Steve Anderson and chairman Bob Loeffler also are urging industry members to participate in NACDS’ Rx Impact Day meetings next month.

NACDS RxImpact Day on Capitol Hill will be held in Washington, D.C., on March 21 and 22. In its fourth year, the event will bring together advocates from all sectors of the industry to meet with key lawmakers to illustrate the unsurpassed value of community pharmacy in improving patient health and reducing costs. You can bet that this year lawmakers will get an earful about the PBM threat on Rx Impact Day.

This comes just as Bloomberg reported that two people familiar with the matter said that ESI is expected to certify to the Federal Trade Commission that it’s finished providing the necessary information for the antitrust review regarding its purchase of Medco. Under antitrust law, the agency is required to act on a merger request within 30 days of the certification. Bloomberg reported that the people declined to be identified because the matter isn’t public.

According to the Bloomberg report, the agency’s options then include clearing the deal, suing to block it or negotiating a settlement. It could also agree with the company to extend the 30-day period. The company and the agency aren’t engaged in discussions about a settlement or extension, the people told Bloomberg. The FTC isn’t expected to decide on the deal until the beginning of March, one of the people told Bloomberg.

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