(Bloomberg) -- Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. lost Chief Information Officer Hsiao Wang just over a year after he was named to the post amid a wider leadership shakeup at the drugstore chain.
In an internal note viewed by Bloomberg News, interim Chief Executive Officer Ginger Graham said Wang had been on a leave of absence but that effective immediately, he’s no longer with the company. Neal Sample, a consultant and former CIO at Northwestern Mutual, will step in to help Graham make decisions about new tech initiatives. He will also sit in on the executive committee, according to the note.
A Walgreens spokesperson confirmed the news.
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Sample previously held both chief information officer and chief operating officer roles at Express Scripts, a top pharmacy benefits manager that was purchased by Cigna. He worked under former CEO Tim Wentworth, whom Bloomberg reported Friday was in talks with Walgreens for the top job. Investors have been cheered by the possibility of a Walgreens C-suite with more experience in health care: The shares gained the most in almost a year Friday on news that Walgreens was considering Wentworth to run the drugstore chain.
Walgreens stock rose 0.8% Monday to $22.42 at 4 p.m. in New York, and has lost 40% this year.
The chain is searching for a host of new executives after former CEO Rosalind Brewer departed abruptly about a month ago and ex-CFO James Kehoe stepped down in July after five years at the company.
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Brewer, a longtime retail executive, came to Walgreens from Starbucks Corp. Walgreens Chairman Stefano Pessina said at the time that her digital expertise and leadership skills would make up for her lack of experience in health care.
She sought to use acquisitions and expand into more dimensions of health care to make Walgreens a bigger player, but the shares lost about half their value during her tenure. Brewer left the CEO post at the end of August after just 2 1/2 years on the job.
When announcing that Brewer had stepped down, Walgreens said it would “search for a successor with deep healthcare experience to lead in today’s dynamic environment.” The recent move may already signal a trend in that direction. Before Brewer hired Wang, he was CIO of the arts-and-crafts retailer Michaels.
Wang didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment.
(Updates with closing share price in fifth paragraph.)
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