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Roz Brewer to depart Starbucks, named CEO of Walgreens

Starbucks (SBUX) chief operating officer and group president Roz Brewer is leaving the coffee giant to join Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) as its CEO, making her the only Black female CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

Brewer will assume the role of CEO at Walgreens on March 15. She will also join the board of directors.

In a press release on Tuesday evening, Walgreens said Brewer brings “a proven track record of leadership and operational expertise at multi-national corporations, with deep experience in strategic development, marketing, digital transformation and loyalty, innovation and technology, supply chain and store development.”

“WBA is a world-class and trusted organization whose purpose I deeply admire. The healthcare industry is constantly evolving, and I am excited to work alongside the entire WBA team as we deliver further innovation and positively impact the lives of millions of people around the world every day. This is especially true today as the company plays a crucial role in combatting the COVID-19 pandemic. I step into this role with great optimism for the future of WBA, a shared responsibility to serve our customers, patients and communities, and a commitment to drive long-term sustainable value for shareholders,” Brewer said in a statement.

Earlier, Starbucks announced in its fiscal first-quarter earnings results that Brewer had accepted a role at a not-yet-disclosed publicly-traded company. The Wall Street Journal reported earlier that the company was Walgreens, which ranks 19th on the Fortune 500.

The pharmacy chain’s current CEO Stefano Pessina said in July that he planned to step down and assume the role of executive chairman when the company found its next leader. In a statement, Pessina described Brewer as an “exceptional leader” who will “take advantage of the many growth opportunities in many markets across the company.”

“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 – ultimately driving significant and sustainable growth and value creation. Her relentless focus on the customer, talent development, operational rigor and strong expertise in digital and technological transformation are exactly what WBA needs as the company enters its next chapter.,” Pessina said in the release.

On the fiscal first-quarter earnings call, CEO Kevin Johnson thanked Brewer for her contributions in leading Starbucks’ operations across the Americas and wished her success in her new role.

“Having personally recruited Roz to Starbucks and seen first hand her leadership skills and many contributions to Starbucks business I know that Roz will make a great public company ceo. I wish her great success in the future,” Starbucks’ chairman emeritus Howard Schultz told Yahoo Finance in an email.

Before joining Starbucks in 2017, Brewer served as the CEO of Sam’s Club, the membership retailer owned by Walmart. Before Walmart, Brewer spent 22 years with Kimberly-Clark.

Brewer joined the Starbucks board in February 2017. She also serves on the board of Amazon and previously served as a director on the boards of Lockheed Martin and Molson Coors Brewing Company.

She holds a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Spelman College and attended an advanced management program at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School and Stanford University’s Directors’ College.

Shares of Starbucks slipped 1.4% in the after-hours session. Shares of Walgreens rose more than 7.4%.

Julia La Roche is a correspondent for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on