Walgreens taps two from Walmart, third from Kraft for key merchandising roles; promotes Van Howe and Watts to new posts


DEERFIELD, Ill. Walgreens announced several important new additions to its merchandising team Monday.

Coming to Walgreens from Walmart are Shannon Petree and Eddie Frail, to the positions of DVP/GMM beauty and personal care, and DVP/GMM seasonal and general merchandise, respectively. Additionally, 14-year Kraft Foods veteran Maurice “Moe” Alkemade will join Walgreens, assuming the position of DVP/GMM private brands. Frail’s position became effective Monday; Alkemade will start June 22; and Petree will start July 13.

Frail joins Walgreens after 21 years at Walmart/Sam’s Club, most recently serving as VP/GMM seasonal, hardlines and sundries; Petree most recently was director/senior buyer beauty at Walmart; and Alkemade most recently managed Kraft’s business with Target.

All three will report to VP merchandising Bryan Pugh, joining a team that also includes DVP/GMM OTC Robert Tompkins and DVP/GMM customer-centric retailing Chong Bang.

In addition, Walgreens noted that over the next several months, Dave Van Howe will transition to the new position of corporate VP new business development within the merchandising group. Van Howe joined Walgreens in 2000 as GMM beauty and fashion. Prior to that, he held operations and purchasing positions with Kmart, Arbor Drugs in Michigan and CVS.

“We look forward to the contributions and leadership each of these folks will provide to our organization — to help us build on our expertise, share learnings from their retail experience and leverage our strategic know-how,” said Walgreens president and CEO Greg Wasson. 

In other company news, Colin Watts, who joined Walgreens last December as a DVP and president of Walgreens Health and Wellness Platforms, has been promoted to VP new product development and chief innovation officer, reporting to Wasson. In this new role, Watts will develop an organization and set of processes to support, develop and grow major platforms across the company, Walgreens spokeswoman Tiffani Washington told Drug Store News.

“Succeeding in an increasingly complex environment requires innovation and product development to be among our core competencies,” Wasson added. “Colin’s team will not only work to advance specific initiatives, but will also help share best practices that will enable us to build product development capabilities throughout the organization.”

Before joining Walgreens, Watts led the development of new product departments at McNeil Consumer Healthcare and Campbell Soup. He also served as president of Johnson & Johnson’s McNeil Nutritionals Co., where he has been credited with having successfully established Splenda as the worldwide leader in the sweetener category.

Finally, Walgreens also announced that Joe Terrion has joined its retail clinic/worksite healthcare division, Take Care Health Systems, as chief client officer, with responsibility for the company’s growth initiatives, client retention and expansion programs, in addition to leading all sales and account management activities that are focused on employers.

Terrion came to Take Care Health Systems from American Express’ Global Travel Group, where he was responsible for managing the company’s largest global accounts for both sales and client retention and client expansion. Prior to joining American Express, Terrion was head of sales and client services for Take Care Health Systems’ cofounder Hal Rosenbluth’s former travel company, Rosenbluth International.

“Joe brings valuable experience in business development and client relationship skills, which will be vital as we expand our roster of employer clients, as well as the breadth of services that we offer,” Wasson said.

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