Francesco Tinto is departing Kraft Heinz Company to take over as global chief information officer and senior vice president of Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. (WBA), the company announced Friday.
Tinto spent 17 years at Kraft Heinz Company and Kraft Foods, most recently serving as global CIO and head of global business services. In his new role, he will lead WBA's global IT strategy, responsible for full stack technology, from data analytics to technical services.
Tinto is preceded by Anthony Roberts, who is retiring as global CIO and senior vice president of WBA. During his tenure, Roberts was responsible for global technology transformation and led the integration office when Walgreens and Alliance Boots merged. He will focus on other "non-executive roles" outside the company following the transition, according to the announcement.
Tinto is taking over technology leadership at WBA during a time of focus on digital transformation and advancing the company's technology capabilities.
"Digitalization" is one of WBA's four strategic priorities, alongside efforts to restructure Walgreens' retail offerings, building a more modern pharmacy and launching a transformation cost management program, WBA CEO Stefano Pessina said during the company's Q2 earnings call in April.
As part of the digitalization push, WBA is working to reduce its annual IT cash spend by between $500 million and $600 million, James Kehoe, global CFO of WBA, said during the April earnings call. It is also allocating $300 million to boost digitalization capabilities, investing 60% in partnerships and 40% in internal efforts.
A centerpiece of that push is WBA's partnership with Microsoft, a seven-year deal to use Microsoft's technology and WBA's consumer-facing reach to personalize healthcare. WBA is also migrating stores and its 380,000 employee workforce to Microsoft 365 and tapping the technology company as its "strategic cloud provider."
The agreement is a large, long-term commitment to build next-generation services. It's the cornerstone of a cloud-native strategy and highlights WBA's commitments to increase its technology capabilities. Part of Tinto's responsibilities at WBA will be executing major projects with Microsoft and Alphabet's Verily, according to the announcement.
Cost-cutting is a factor, but the efforts to modernize will also allow WBA to stay competitive as the world's largest pharmacy retailer and wholesaler. The shift is imperative as competitors in the space, including CVS Health, challenge the traditional drugstore model.
What does this all mean for Tinto? His work is cut out for him. His time at Kraft Heinz included the 2015 merger between the Kraft Foods Group and H.J. Heinz Company, so he has experience tying businesses together.
While at Kraft, Tinto deployed an innovation hub, which allowed the company to explore disruptive technologies, such as data analytics, AI and robotics, easing cultural barriers and staff's apprehension of new technologies along the way.