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People on the move … June 14

Important personnel changes you should know this week about Rite Aid, Spartan Nash and more.
Nigel F. Maynard
Editorial Director

Drug Store News has rounded up all the retail pharmacy comings and goings to help keep you informed. Here are this week’s announcements.

Rite Aid names Thomas Sabatino chief legal officer

Rite Aid announced that Thomas Sabatino has joined the company as executive vice president and chief legal officer. The company said Sabatino will play a pivotal role in the company’s growth strategy to help create meaningful customer, client and member experiences for millions of Americans.

As chief legal officer, he will oversee the organization’s legal affairs, including enterprise risk management, compliance, regulatory affairs and privacy.

“As we continue to accelerate our performance and grow our capabilities, we are pleased to welcome Tom to the Rite Aid team,” said Busy Burr, interim CEO, Rite Aid. “We believe Tom’s proven leadership and extensive background in the healthcare industry and company transformations will help us further our mission to provide whole health for life to all of our customers.”

Sabatino will become a member of the company's executive leadership team and report to Burr. He brings four decades of experience in the legal field navigating complex business needs and was most recently the executive vice president and general counsel at Tenneco, Inc. His expertise runs deep in the healthcare industry with previous executive roles at Aetna, Walgreen Boots Alliance, Schering Plough Corp. and Baxter International Inc.

Sabatino currently serves as a member of the Board of Directors of the Humane Society of the United States and the South Florida Wildlife Center. He is chair emeritus of the International Institute for Conflict Prevention and Resolution and is on the Board of Advisors of the University of Pennsylvania Carey School of Law.

“This is an exciting time to join Rite Aid and be part of a performance-driven workforce focused on revitalizing operations and making a meaningful impact on improving health outcomes for all people,” said Sabatino. “I look forward to supporting these efforts while strengthening our internal legal, compliance, and governance-related capabilities so that Rite Aid remains uniquely positioned to realize its vision for the modern pharmacy.”

NIQ Appoints Jacqueline Flam as senior vice president of beauty retail

Consumer intelligence provider, NIQ, has appointed Jacqueline Flam as senior vice president of US Beauty Retail. This strategic move coincides with the rollout of an enriched range of offerings tailored specifically to NIQ's retail beauty clients, the company said.

With more than two decades of experience in beauty business leadership, Flam will be responsible for empowering beauty retailers to elevate their consumer understanding while surpassing their inclusivity, branding and commerce objectives.

"As a staunch advocate for beauty retailers, this role is a dream come true for me,” Flam said. “NIQ empowers retail leaders to tap into the world's most comprehensive and multi-dimensional beauty market and consumer data, enabling them to transform it into insights, innovations, consumer experiences, and commerce opportunities that propel them ahead of the market. This mission is of utmost importance, particularly as the current generation of boundary-free consumers demands more. With NIQ, our beauty retail partners can deliver on those Expectations."

In addition to the appointment of Jacqueline Flam, NIQ has made a series of significant investments and enhancements to its retail beauty offerings over the past year. These initiatives encompass acquisitions and investments in entities such as Label Insight, Cornerstone Capabilities, Rakuten Intelligence, data impact, foxintelligence, ciVALUE, and CGA. The company said these assets have now been seamlessly integrated into NIQ's data platform, offerings, and services, broadening the scope for beauty retailers and endowing them with even greater insights and control.

"These investments embody our Full View promise to our clients, enabling them to gain a deeper understanding of today's dynamic market and consumers, from initial inspiration to final transaction," said Tara James Taylor, SVP of Global Beauty. "Our clients rely on us to minimize uncertainty and enhance the predictability of their investments. That's precisely what we're accomplishing by equipping them with the resources to navigate the next wave of beauty retail customer experience, growth, and commerce."

HRG announces promotions for 3 staffers

HRG has acknowledged the accomplishments of three of their associates and promoted them. Steve Hill was elevated to PC development/technical analyst lead and Cat Renwick and Noah Rosenthal were both promoted to category analysts.

Hill has been with HRG since 2019. In his new role, HRG’s developer team will report to him, and he will be responsible for managing their workloads and mentoring their professional growth as well as being the communication liaison with internal departments requesting development work. Additionally, he will continue to manage various internal and external projects within the organization and be responsible for researching emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence and robotic process automation.

Renwick and Rosenthal both joined HRG in 2020 as merchandising analysts. As category analysts they are responsible for certain health, beauty, and wellness categories and reviewing the relevant products for inclusion in HRG planograms for independent pharmacies. They both also get involved in special projects. Renwick has built custom planograms for a variety of retail channels as well as beauty brands. She has a special interest in consumer behavior and shopper psychology which she leans on as she creates planograms that are intended to provide a great shopping experience.

“Promotions are not just about reaching higher positions,” Beth Maas, human resources director at HRG, said. “They are a testament to an employee’s dedication, growth, and potential. This is a celebration of their achievement and a reaffirmation of our belief in their capabilities. We view promotions as a strategic investment in our employees’ futures, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and providing opportunities for them to thrive and contribute to the organization’s success.”

EmpiRx Health names healthcare and technology veteran Danny Sanchez as CEO

EmpiRx Health has announced that the company's president, Danny Sanchez, will be its new CEO.

As part of a planned transition, Sanchez succeeds Karthik Ganesh, who has served as president and then CEO of EmpiRx Health during the past five years.

"EmpiRx Health is now the PBM of choice for self-funded plan sponsors looking for a highly differentiated level of care, savings, and service," said Ganesh. "Despite our incredible growth and business results over the years, we have never lost sight of the fact that we are a healthcare company first. I have immense confidence in Danny's ability to not just drive exponential growth, but to also stay true to EmpiRx Health's core mission of improving our corner of healthcare, one patient and one client at a time."

Sanchez joined EmpiRx Health in February 2023, bringing more than 20 years of broad-based healthcare industry experience. Prior to joining EmpiRx Health, Sanchez worked for more than 18 years at Omnicell, the global healthcare technology company. Most recently, Sanchez served as senior vice president and general manager of EnlivenHealth, the Omnicell division that builds digital technology solutions for the retail pharmacy industry.

"I truly believe this is an historic moment for EmpiRx Health, especially as traditional PBMs come under increased scrutiny for their fundamentally flawed business approach that prioritizes drug volume to fuel profits," said Sanchez. "I want to thank Karthik for building this organization into the thriving and formidable industry change-maker that it is today. I have been so impressed with how EmpiRx Health has successfully transformed the PBM industry for the benefit of clients and their employee populations nationwide and as CEO, I am thrilled to further our company mission to revolutionize the healthcare benefits industry."


SpartanNash has named Brandon Pasch as vice president, center store merchandising

SpartanNash has named Brandon Pasch as the new vice president of center store merchandising effective immediately.

Pasch will play a key role in advancing the Company's merchandising transformation, developing strategy and driving winning results in a major segment of SpartanNash's business.

"Brandon is a skilled leader in merchandising, with extensive experience across many categories within the retail and grocery industry," said SpartanNash Senior Vice President and Chief Merchandising Officer Bennett Morgan. "We're thrilled to have his unique perspective and unyielding work ethic to help improve the in-store guest experience at our retail locations and for our independent wholesale customers."

Pasch joins the team following the recent hire of Arpen Shah as Vice President, Merchandising Strategy and Analytics, last month. “These strategic additions reflect the company's continued commitment to its merchandising transformation, which leverages key insights to drive enhanced category planning, promotional effectiveness and customer-centric innovation,” the company said.

Pasch most recently served as Vice President of Merchandising, Center Store at Giant Eagle Inc., a supermarket chain with more than 400 retail locations. Prior to Giant Eagle, Pasch held leadership roles in merchandising, planning and buying at Meijer and Target. He also served as a Financial Analyst at Ford. Pasch earned his undergraduate degree in finance and entrepreneurial studies from the University of Minnesota.


Bayer announces changes to U.S. country leadership team

Life-sciences company Bayer has named Dave Tomasi president of its Consumer Health North America effective July 1.

Dave, who has been serving as the Chief Commercial Officer for CH NA, joined Bayer in 2019, holding leadership roles in the Consumer Health division, most recently guiding strategy and operations across all functions, including portfolio management, retail strategy integration and commercial operations.

The company said he played a key role in the turnaround of the CH NA business over the past four years, driving operational excellence, financial performance, innovation, and strengthening the North America retail business.

He is a graduate of West Point, a proud Veteran of the U.S. Army and continues to serve Veterans through his role as Executive Sponsor of the BRAVE Business Resource Group. He also serves on the board of BAYPAC, Bayer’s Employee Political Action Committee, as well as the Bayer Fund, the philanthropic arm of Bayer in the United States. Dave also serves on the Executive Board for the Consumer Health Products Association.

Prior to joining Bayer, Dave spent more than 20 years at Procter & Gamble in a number of leadership roles spanning personal health care, consumer products and retailer partnerships.

Dave replaces Patrick Lockwood-Taylor, President, Bayer U.S. & President, Consumer Health North America, who is leaving the company to accept a role as Chief Executive Officer at a health and wellness company. His last day with Bayer is June 29.

The Bayer U.S. president will be named in the future, the company said.

“With the appointment of Dave Tomasi as Consumer Health President NA, we have a seasoned leader with deep knowledge of our industry and customers,” said Heiko Schipper, president, Consumer Health Division and Member, Bayer Board of Management. “I look forward to seeing our North America Consumer Health business continue to thrive and deliver the innovation consumers need. We thank Patrick for his outstanding leadership in both Consumer Health and as President of the U.S. business and wish him all the best as he pursues this new opportunity and continues the important work of advancing health and wellness.”

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