Skip to main content

Kuske out at Katz, company confirms


MARKHAM, Ont. Retail pharmacy veteran Jerry Kuske has left Katz Group Canada, two sources within the company confirmed this afternoon.

No reason was given for Kuske’s departure from Katz, where he served as executive vice president and chief merchandising officer. Also unclear are the highly experienced executive’s future plans.

“His last day was Friday,” said one Katz staff member who worked closely with the senior executive.

Katz Group spokesperson Michelle Lee confirmed the move late this afternoon. “Following five years with Katz Group Canada, Jerry Kuske has left the organization,” Lee acknowledged in response to a query from Drug Store News. “We thank Jerry for his valuable contributions and hard work.”

Lee said the company “will be conducting a search for a new executive vice president, chief merchandising officer in the new year.”

For the past five years, Kuske served as top merchant for the huge drug store conglomerate, which operates more than 1,800 drug stores in Canada and the United States under a variety of banners including Rexall, Pharma Plus, Medicine Shoppe and Drug Trading in Canada, and Snyder’s Drug Stores in the United States. The move was handled quietly: although Katz Group’s vendor community was informed of Kuske’s abrupt departure on Dec. 5, no official press announcement was made.

Kuske came to Katz via another American retail veteran, Katz president and chief executive officer Andy Giancamilli, and helped lead the revitalization of the company’s flagship drug store prototype and merchandising strategy under the rejuvenated Rexall brand. By blending United States and Canadian merchandising and marketing concepts, he and other Katz executives developed a fresh approach to drug store retailing north of the border and made Rexall the company’s flagship brand and prototype concept.

Kuske brought to Katz Group a diverse background in retailing, having served with Ahold USA, Kmart Corp., Perry Drug Stores and Pay Less NW. He came to Katz five years ago from Ahold USA, where he was senior vice president of general merchandise. Prior to that he worked with Perry and with Kmart, where he rose to become senior vice president and general merchandise manager for hardlines. Kuske’s early career was spent with PayLess in Oregon.

This ad will auto-close in 10 seconds