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Alex Gourlay to leave Boots for Walgreens

Business The Alliance Boots health and beauty CEO is to join partner Walgreens as executive vice president of customer experience and daily living on October 1

Alex Gourlay is set to leave his role as chief executive of Alliance Boots' health and beauty division after four years to join its partner Walgreens, in a shake-up of the company's top ranks.

Mr Gourlay will become executive vice president of Walgreens and will lead Walgreens' daily living operation, which oversees customer experience, merchandising and marketing.

The appointment was a key part of the "cultural integration" between the two companies, said Walgreens president and chief executive officer Greg Wasson, following their merger in June last year.

The Alliance Boots health and beauty chief is to join partner Walgreens as president of customer experience and daily living on October 1

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Mr Gourlay's responsibilities at Alliance Boots will be taken on by Boots UK chief operating officers Simon Roberts and Ken Murphy. Mr Roberts will become managing director of health and beauty in the UK and Ireland, with responsibility for retail and pharmacy activities.

Mr Murphy will take a position as managing director of health and beauty international and brands. He will have responsibility for product innovation, development and branding, global commercial account management and international retailing.

All three appointments will come into effect on October 1, Alliance Boots said in a statement yesterday.

During Mr Gourlay's time as health and beauty chief executive, the company experienced three years of double-digit growth, focused its pharmacies on "condition-led care" and sold 45 per cent of its shares to Walgreens.

Mr Wasson said Mr Gourlay would be able to use his role to combine the best practices of the two companies. "Alex's new position is a clear testament to the positive progress we are making in bringing our two organisations together," he said.

Alliance Boots executive chairman Stefano Pessina said Mr Gourlay's move to Walgreens was "further proof of our strong pace and momentum". "I am convinced that he will make a huge difference in advancing the Walgreens/Alliance Boots strategic partnership, sharing his leadership and experience in driving excellent customer care and developing innovative product and service offerings," he said.

In May, Alliance Boots announced that it had missed out on a sixth year of double-digit trading profit growth for 2012-13 but it hailed its 6.1 per cent increase to £1.3 billion as a strong performance in a challenging market.

What could Alex Gourlay's experience at Alliance Boots bring to Walgreens?

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