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Lloydspharmacy chief Cormac Tobin resigns

Cormac Tobin had been with the Celesio group for more than 10 years
Cormac Tobin had been with the Celesio group for more than 10 years

Cormac Tobin, managing director of Lloydspharmacy's parent company Celesio UK, has left the company “with immediate effect”, the multiple has announced.

His departure comes just one week after Mr Tobin – who had been with the Celesio group for more than 10 years – told Lloyds employees that 190 “commercially unviable” branches of the multiple would have to close or be sold.

Celesio UK said the remaining members of its board would manage the business “whilst a successor is sought”.

Brian Tyler, chairman of the management board of McKesson Europe – which owns Celesio – said Mr Tobin had “built a strong leadership team for Celesio UK”, and added “his warm and engaging personality made him many friends across community pharmacy and beyond”.

“I am grateful for the dedication that Cormac has shown over the last few years and his leadership through an ever-changing external environment,” Mr Tyler said.

Read C+D's exclusive interview with Cormac Tobin from earlier this year.

What do you make of Cormac Tobin's departure?

Mohammed Patel, Community pharmacist

I have actually met this guy. I shook his hand (because I had to) and listened to his presentation just as he was taking over the supermarket pharmacies. He spent a lot of time talking about anecdotes from his teenage years in Ireland when he swept floors for a living. He said that he continued to sweep floors and worked his way up, insinuating in a subtle manner that the pharmacists with masters degrees in the audience were "floor sweepers" just like he had been.

He really did not have a grasp of what his pharmacists actually do, which I found incredible, and was more proud of the fact that the Qatari royal family had been to his flagship store in London to buy something very expensive.

Again it's all about money, pensions, share price and CEO bonus. The people who are actually in the shops earning the money end up with very little.

Amal England, Public Relations

I think he was forced to go, if he didn't it would be a sacking. The truth is he messed up.... Massively. Buying Sainsburys pharmacies and then selling nearly 200 of your existing branches, some of which are quite busy. He made a costly mistake. Good riddance to people like him that destroy pharmacy. I hope he goes to work in a bank or pub or something.... Anything but not Pharmacy.

Pharmacist Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

I'm sure the company has now advertised for another director, someone who belongs to every other sector of business other than pharmacy,,,,butchers, market traders etc etc

Locum Pharmacist, Locum pharmacist

Of course wouldn't want a pharmacist's code of ethics to get in the way of profits. Or god forbid they hire someone that the GPhC could potentially hold to account- you know, if by some miracle, the GPhC start doing their job.

Pharmacist Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

I worked for Lloyds before Mr Tobin (I always somehow never really remembered how to correctly say his name) and it was amazing, when he took over the company went in another direction, Shortly after I left, and now the once he's made the ship sink, he is leaving!

S J- Locum, Locum pharmacist


Boom Shakalaka, Locum pharmacist

Some eejit deleted my comment - childish! Is there no free speech here either?

Boom Shakalaka, Locum pharmacist

The seagull always follows the trawler.......

Yo Palumeri, Community pharmacist

will anybody notice?

Farhat Ahmed, Locum pharmacist

What do the Lloydspharmacy employees think? Come on lets have your thoughts was he good or bad?

Beta Blocker, Primary care pharmacist

Noone at branch level knows what's going on. I asked a few colleagues that still work for Lloyds about what was happening and they knew as much as I did.

Jim Yates, Pharmacy Asistant/ Medicine Counter Assistant

Sad times for pharmacy workers

Caroline Allan, Pharmacy Asistant/ Medicine Counter Assistant

.As a NonPharmacist Pharmacy Manager, we get told the bare minimum. He has always seemed to be a great leader, there for the people.  I can’t lie it’s a shock to hear the news. We are still operating ‘as normal’ in the stores that’s all we can do, our patients come first, but obviously there is something going on in the Head Office! 


Rubicon Mango, Academic pharmacist

Whilst I admire your professionalism, I do not agree with the 'patients come first' aspect. It seems this term is utilised by the echos of upper managment to make all health professionals feel as if they are part of some big workforce pushing to save and help every patient in every aspect of their lives. I hope your not affected by branch closures but if your branch is to close, patients will find another pharmacy and after 3-6 months you will be forgotten, but your mortages, debt, bills will remain. You come first, never your patients, I learnt that the hard way a long time ago.

Caroline Allan, Pharmacy Asistant/ Medicine Counter Assistant

Thanks Rubicon for your concerns...I am lucky but my store is not closing.  You’re right we need to look after number one, ourselves but we are just carrying on as normal with,our every day working week...until we get news of what comes next for us as a is unsettling, but we cannot let it deter us from delivering our good service to our customers.....we all want to,know what is going on, but as usual we will be the last to,know!!!

Beta Blocker, Primary care pharmacist

I'm a former Lloyds employee... abit like

He seemed like a nice guy, I met him once in head office. Every AM that I ever had would always say he was a nice and helpful as they would have meetings with him in head office.

Unfortunately, he gave the green light to invest £125m in sainsburys to buy pharmacies like my local one who barely do 1500 items a month. I think Lloyds also thought they could make money back on OTC sales but from what I hear that isn't happening either.

Investment in technologies like automation which Lloyds have been talking about for the last 6-7 years haven't materialised even when millions have been ploughed into it. Also, updating computer systems was another thing that was going to happen and we were all mean't to be using the latest software and that was 2 years ago.... and guess what? That didn't happen as they had to cutback on spending again.

I think if i pi**ed away £125M i'd probably have to answer for it...

Honest Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

I get what you're saying, but not all of the LloydsPharmacy in Sainsbury's are as quiet as that, believe me! The ones that aren't viable seem to apply to the 100 hour pharmacies, the other ones I know that have been there for 15 years+ a very viable indeed.

The problems that we are facing constantly are untrained Area Managers, untrained Area Coaches, untrained HR and payroll who can't do our wages properly, and the fact that there has been no integration period at all, we've all just been thrown into this and when we ask anyone higher up they just ignore us. You would think that a pharmacy company like Lloyds would be organised and have good training and measures in place but they are absolutely hopeless.

Sainsbury's head office and management put the Lloyds senior management to shame.

Lloyds other big problem in their stores is using non-pharmacist pharmacy managers because they don't train them either, so i've seen counter assistants being moved to pharmacy managers - the risk far outweighs the benefit of cost and their departments are now falling to pieces, with excellent experienced colleagues resigning left, right and centre.

Lloyds need to start putting their customers and colleagues first, before the shareholders and directors' bonuses. They need to stop throwing more inexperienced managers at the problem, stop restructuring the Regions etc. - which was their last announcement the day after they announced they were closing 190 stores! Cormac may have been a nice guy, but he was too concerned about digital technology etc. He should have tried to get the basics right first, if you train your colleagues well; then they will be motivated, engaged, and happier colleagues, and deliver better customer service to the patients / customers and they will become loyal and keep coming back - i believe that's the first step for any successful business, without that you will fail everytime. 




Fuzzy Wuzzy, Dispenser Manager/ Dispensing Assistant

*This comment has been deleted for breaching C+D's community principles*

CAPT FX, Locum pharmacist

I am not surprised at all. If he had hang on I would have been even more surprised. How many people would do what he did. Buy 281 Sainsbury Branches for £125M and then within 12months announce the intention to close or divest from almost 200 branches. Remember a significant percentage of the Branches bought maybe poor perfomers.

Celesio maybe moneybags but this was the worst decision by a living CEO for years. During his tenure the Lloydspharmacy brand has been in free fall if not outright meltdown. It is the worst enviromnent for Professionals to work in and investment in Branch has been negative. At times you wonder whether they are actually a Regulated Pharmacy. A big organisation like this needs someone with a strong presence and someone whose Management acumen can be felt from the top right to the shop floor.

I sincerely hope the incoming Broom will sweep cleaner and get this lumbering behemoth back to be called a Pharmacy multiple and not a News agents.

Chemical Mistry, Information Technology

Probably the worse decision since the Coop was brought by now Well, anybody in working in pharmacy would have told the bankers not to buy thses groups but  these see Ceo know best.

I do not think anyone in the Sainsburys branches will shed any tears for him leaving just another snake oil peddler and probably karma. I bet the Sainsburys board are having a good laugh at his expense has well selling him the dead duck should have gone due to poor due diligence.



Barry Pharmacist, Community pharmacist

This is the man who employed Matt Poole because of his work in the gaming industry.

Mr Poole joined Celesio UK on January 18, headhunted from Boots – where he spent three years as head of digital development – following 10 years at Ladbrokes.

He said Celesio UK uses the data history of patients to improve their relationship with the business, employing rules of customer relationship management (CRM). This is something "betting and gaming have been doing for quite a while", he stressed. Quote from C&D article.

I would have thought that Betting and Pharmacy are two industries that should have no connection and it speaks volumes that Mr Tobin sees things differently. 

Boom Shakalaka, Locum pharmacist

Seriously? Gambling and pharmacy go hand in hand in my experience.

Rubicon Mango, Academic pharmacist

Maybe he grew a moral stance and decided to resign, anything is pure speculation at this moment in time.

Ilove Pharmacy, Non Pharmacist Branch Manager

Nice payoff I'm sure. These are your leaders, running, ducking and diving.

Gerry Diamond, Primary care pharmacist

Who gives a care about why Mr Tobin left? Just office politics and matters not a jot to anybody else.That's it!

Marcus Jones, Student

I would not be surprised if he ends up working with another pharmacy group buying up the 190 "unviable" Lloyds pharmacies or at least has an interest / sizeable shareholding.

If he does in the next couple of year I hope someone looks into to it for potential conflicts of interest

Amjad Khan, Senior Management

Marcus Jones (Student) This is not a market to buy, and especially not undeperorming pharmacies. Believe me. And you may want to consider studying something else. Believe me.

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