Kroger Launches New Initiative as Its Partner Appoints a New President
DEERFIELD, IL - Kroger’s partner, Walgreens Boots Alliance, announced today that a new President will be spearheading the company in its future growth plans. Richard Ashworth will be responsible for developing the strategies and plans for all Walgreens operations and will have full responsibility for the leadership, development, and management of the business. He will report to Alex Gourlay, Co-Chief Operating Officer, Walgreens Boots Alliance.
According to the press release, Ashworth began his career as a service clerk with Walgreens in 1992. During his 28-year tenure with the company, he has served as President of Operations, Walgreens, and has held a variety of leadership positions with increasing responsibility overseeing pharmacy, health care commercial, retail, and other segments. Ashworth also serves as Vice Chairman on the Board of Directors of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores and will assume the Board’s Chairmanship in April.
“Richard is a strong leader who grew up with the Walgreens brand and who has a great appreciation for its storied heritage. He truly understands our customers and is passionate about the role we play in their daily lives,” said Stefano Pessina, Executive Vice Chairman and CEO, Walgreens Boots Alliance. “We are pleased to have Richard lead the Walgreens business, and lead the charge as we create the Walgreens of the future. His experience will be incredibly valuable as we continue to accelerate our ongoing transformation to best meet the needs of our customers, communities, and team members.”
The news of Ashworth’s recent appointment follows Kroger’s announcement to pilot “food prescriptions” in Ohio. In November of 2018, we reported that Kroger released its OptUp app with the intention to spur healthier purchases. Then, last month, the grocer teased "Food as Medicine" in its 2020 trend predictions—a unique strategy that could help growers' expand the footprint of fresh produce.
"To help customers manage their general wellbeing and chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease and cancer, Kroger Health is piloting a new food prescription program, inviting primary care physicians to refer patients to Kroger Health experts for individualized nutrition counseling and personalized food recommendations," the retailer wrote in a press release. "Customers can then fill their food prescriptions at Kroger stores in select markets with dedicated support from the Kroger Health nutrition team."
According to The Spoon, Kroger has partnered with a Cincinnati doctor who will provide dietary recommendations to diabetes patients and direct them to a nutrition expert at a Kroger supermarket in Forest Park, Ohio.
Pessina continued, “I would also like to thank Alex for his leadership and dedication through a pivotal time, following the formation of Walgreens Boots Alliance, and most recently into a period of rapid change across pharmacy and retail. He will continue in a key, global role as a member of my leadership team, advancing our health and wellness strategy while working closely with Richard.”
As healthier eating takes more of a precedence with today's consumers, the renewed emphasis on produce as medicine is sure to revitalize the grocery aisle. Will the new President appointment mean the pilot will expand to other Kroger stores? Also, will other retailers follow suit and prescribe produce to shoppers? Keep reading AndNowUKnow as we follow the news.