- Walgreens Boots Alliance (WBA) named Mike Maresca CTO at the end of June, reporting to Global CIO Francesco Tinto, a company spokesperson told CIO Dive in an email.
- Maresca comes to WBA from Accenture, where he served as global managing director. At WBA, he will oversee business transformation across the company's applications and enterprise analytics, including cloud strategy, enterprise architecture, application programming interfaces, SAP solutions strategy and software development.
- WBA is working to combine its physical store locations, expertise from pharmacists, and "digital channels and first-party customer data," according to the spokesperson. The company intends to continue partnering with technology vendors to advance healthcare-related initiatives.
WBA has not been immune to the fluctuations in consumer behavior during the pandemic.
Physicians found patient volumes dropped as much as 65% as people deferred non-essential medical visits in fear of catching COVID-19, CIO Dive's sister publication Healthcare Dive reported in April. The drop in in-person patient care also left writing prescriptions down 47%.
About 45% of year-over-year decline in gross profit is attributable to the pandemic and a decrease in prescription fills, according to the company.
As telemedicine gains momentum every day, WBA is "developing home-based monitoring and telemedicine services" using VillageMD, said Alex Gourlay, co-COO and president, during the Q3 2020 earnings call. "We're investing $1 million of debt and equity in the partnership over the next three years including a $250 million equity investment announced yesterday."
In January, the company shifted focus toward cutting costs. At the time, executives said cost savings could yield about $1.8 billion by 2022. But with minimal aid from its healthcare operations, the company tried to pull ahead with its health, wellness and beauty divisions. Still, the pharmacy retailer under-performed compared to its competitors.
Physical retail locations are outdated and underwhelming to consumers, driving customers elsewhere. In an attempt to re-attract shoppers, WBA is modernizing under Tinto, who joined the company in September. He was formerly the global CIO of Kraft Heinz Company.
"I am excited to join Walgreens Boots Alliance at a time when there is substantial momentum behind digitalizing the company," said Maresca, in an emailed statement to CIO Dive.
The company inked a seven-year deal with Microsoft in January 2019 to personalize healthcare care across its stores. The deal rolled 380,000 WBA employees onto Microsoft 365 and intended to pilot "digital health corners" in stores.
Last week, WBA expanded its relationship with Microsoft, announcing a joint effort with Adobe to "launch a world-class modern technology and customer data resource, which will form the basis of a new customer engagement platform," said Gourlay. The initiative is set to amplify consumer personalization goals.