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UPDATED: Lloydspharmacy: Kevin Birch steps back from operational role as CEO

Lloydspharmacy CEO Kevin Birch has “stepped back from his operational role” at the multiple, C+D can exclusively reveal.

A spokesperson for the multiple confirmed to C+D today (May 26) that although Mr Birch has “stepped back from his operational role as CEO of Lloydspharmacy, he will continue to support the company strategically”.

Lloydspharmacy refused to clarify whether Mr Birch remains in post as CEO in a "strategic" capacity or whether there is an interim CEO in place, as well as when this took effect.

Mr Birch’s LinkedIn profile still lists him as CEO of the multiple.

Read more: PDA issues advice as Lloydspharmacy moves ahead with divestment process

C+D approached Lloydspharmacy for clarity on Mr Birch’s role after noting that Lloyds Pharmacy Limited had lodged a notice for the “termination of appointment” of Mr Birch as a director.

The notice, filed on Companies House on May 11, listed the date of termination as May 4 2023.

It also remains unclear why he was removed as a director.

Read more: UPDATED: Rowlands snaps up 30 Lloydspharmacy branches in Scotland

It comes just over eight months after the multiple announced Mr Birch’s appointment as CEO of Lloydspharmacy in late August.

Mr Birch had served three years as chief retail officer at Lloydspharmacy’s parent company McKesson UK at the time and had joined the multiple after serving as CEO at the Avicenna pharmacy group.

Read more: Lloydspharmacy names Kevin Birch as new CEO

With over 30 years of experience in retail, he previously held senior positions at Walgreens Boots Alliance - the parent company of Lloydspharmacy’s rival Boots.

Private equity firm Aurelius Group completed the acquisition of McKesson UK in April 2022. Soon after, in May, McKesson UK’s CEO Toby Anderson “stepped down” from his position.

 

Lloydspharmacy latest

 

It comes amid a plethora of activity at the multiple in recent months, with a Lloydspharmacy spokesperson telling C+D in April that it is "selectively selling" some of its branches as part of a review of its estate.

On Wednesday (May 24), Rowlands Pharmacy announced that it had bought 30 Lloydspharmacy branches in Scotland, while independent pharmacy chains Davidson's Chemists and Kamsons Pharmacy have each recently acquired five Lloydspharmacy branches apiece.

Read more: Lloydspharmacy confirms locations and dates of six Sainsbury's branch closures

Also on Wednesday, the Pharmacists’ Defence Association (PDA) issued advice to its members following claims that some Lloydspharmacy branches are being sold in a two-part share sale process.

Meanwhile on May 15, C+D reported that Lloydspharmacy had formally rejected a claim for enhanced redundancy benefits in an ongoing dispute with former Sainsbury’s staff.

Read more: Lloydspharmacy rejects ex-Sainsbury’s staff enhanced redundancy claims

In January, the multiple announced that it will withdraw pharmacy services from all Sainsbury’s supermarkets over the course of this year, via a C+D exclusive.

On Monday (May 22), C+D reported that Lloydspharmacy had confirmed the locations of six of its branches in Sainsbury's supermarkets that are due to close, as well as the closure dates.

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