Walgreens Increases Women, People of Color in Leadership Roles: DEI Report

For 1st time, diversity, equity and inclusion report includes U.S. demographic data by race
Marian Zboraj
Digital Editor
Marian Zboraj
Walgreens Increases Women, People of Color in Leadership Roles: DEI Report
Walgreens' 2020-21 diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) report provides updates on the company’s DEI commitments and its progress on leadership diversity.

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. (WBA) has released its second diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) report,  “Our Values. Our People. Our Differences.,” which provides updates on the company’s DEI commitments as well as its progress on leadership diversity. Also, for the first time, the report includes U.S. demographic data by race.

The DEI report, which covers fiscal 2020 and 2021, explains how the company implemented several DEI initiatives to increase inclusivity and representation of women and people of color throughout the company. One of those initiatives is the Leadership Accountability Model, which ties a portion of incentive pay for bonus-eligible employees to the company’s performance on diversity goals. The report shows that the company has increased the representation of women and people of color in leadership year over year. Leadership is defined as senior directors and above.

In August, WBA CEO Rosalind Brewer enlisted former colleague Tracey Brown in the newly created role of president of retail products and chief customer officer. She previously spent close to four years with Sam’s Club, where she was brought in by Brewer after Brewer was elevated from an operations role at Walmart to be CEO of Sam’s Club in February 2012. Brown joined Sam’s Club in October 2014 and was chief member officer and then SVP of operations and chief experience officer there. 

Also a recent new hire is Danielle Gray to the role of EVP and global chief legal officer. Most notably, in 2009, she was brought in for roles at the White House and the Department of Justice. Gray’s responsibilities at WBA include “supporting the company’s business strategy, goals and mitigating any legal barriers to achieving business objectives.”

“At WBA, our mission is to ingrain diversity, equity and inclusion into everything we do, and that mission is resonating throughout our company,” said Brewer, who was appointed to the CEO position in January. “I am so proud of the work we’ve done to expand understanding, increase curiosity, and connect with each other and our customers in ways that truly lead to an inclusive environment. We are committed to continuing and improving this work in the coming year and beyond.”

Additionally, the DEI report, featuring a cover illustration from Detroit artist Sydney James, discloses for the first time the company’s U.S. demographic data by race, showing a year-over-year increase for people of color in leadership.

“We are encouraged by the trend we’re seeing showing that our leadership ranks are more representative of the people we serve, but there is still work to do,” said Carlos W. Cubia, SVP and global chief diversity officer atWBA. “We will continue to find innovative and impactful ways to make sure WBA is an inclusive and equitable employer of choice for everyone, regardless of race, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or religion.”

The company also said that its latest EEO-1 data – for fiscal 2020 – is now posted on its corporate website.

Additionally, the DEI Report outlines steps that the company has taken to address vaccine equity during the pandemic, from mobile clinics to community partnerships to high-profile celebrity events aimed at increasing vaccine awareness, education and accessibility.

For example, the retailer partnered with Uber Technologies Inc. in February to improve access to vaccines in underserved communities.

Meanwhile, WBA will release its fourth-quarter and fiscal 2021 full-year earnings results on Oct. 14. For its third quarter ending May 31, the company reported that sales increased 12.1%, compared with the third quarter of 2020, to reach $34.0 billion. The U.S. segment of the business reported a 5.1% increase in third-quarter sales to $28.7 billion. On a year-to-date basis, overall WBA sales were up 7.2% for a total of $98.2 billion.

Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens is included in the Retail Pharmacy USA division of Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. The drug store chain operates more than 9,000 retail locations across the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands, serving about 8 million customers daily. Walgreens is No. 5 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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