by CIO Staff

Timeline of CIO role changes at retailer Walgreens and Boots

Jun 01, 20154 mins
IT LeadershipRetail Industry

Global pharmacy giant Walgreens Boots Alliance, which owns the UK high street pharmacy chain Boots, has a UK CIO as of today. Anthony Roberts joined the Alliance Boots organisation in 2004 as Director of Operations, but left in 2012 to go vendor side with Cegedim. Keele educated Roberts re-joined the pharmacy firm in January 2014 as Director of Integration for the merger with Walgreens and is as of today its head business technology leader.

29 May 2015 Tim Theriault, global CIO steps down today, June 1, 2015 “for personal reasons” the pharmacy business said in a statement.

“Theriault will continue to serve as a consultant to the company and as a senior advisor to Executive Vice Chairman and Acting CEO Stefano Pessina on a range of issues, including cyber security.”

Anthony Robertssteps up from being international CIO to become  Walgreens Boots Alliance senior vice president and global CIO, the organisation said.

“Roberts brings extensive experience as an IT professional to his new role, having worked for international companies throughout his career including PepsiCo and UPS. In addition, he has led the transformation of IT across Alliance Boots and most recently co-led the integration office in preparation for the merger of Walgreens and Alliance Boots.”

7 August 2014 Walgreens CIO role became a global position as part of its acquisition of the UK’s Alliance Boots business  that includes retailer Boots and the Alliance Boots pharmacy wholesale and distribution organisations.

Tim Theriault, chief information, innovation and improvement officer at Walgreens, became executive vice-president and global chief information officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance.

January 2014 Anthony Roberts re-joins Alliance Boots as Director of Integration having been a board level leader with IT vendor Cegedim for four years. Walgreens took the remaining 55% stake in Boots that it did not yet own in a £9 billion deal announced later in 2014.

9 October 2013 Jonathan Vardon leaves Boots as IT Director, a role held since 2012 having succeeded predecessor Andy Haywood. Vardon left Boots in October 2013 to team up with Group CIO Andy Haywood at The Cooperative. Vardon became CIO for digital within The Cooperative Group. Vardon and Haywood went on to leave The Cooperative in June 2014 as the Manchester headquartered retailer was hit by financial issues and leadership troubles.

April 2013 Jonathan Vardon in a CIO Profiledescribes the state of the Walgreens relationship at that time as: “It is a partnership. For the US they have an opportunity to get into the UK and European market and they have the option to buy the remaining 55% stake in three years’ time.” He goes on to describe IT at Boots as: “The leadership understand the complexity of the IT estate and the very old ways of working and there is a great recognition and expectation of what IT can do.”

June 2012 US pharmacy retailer Walgreens acquired a 45% stake in Alliance Boots, the company of which pharmacy Boots is a part. 29 September 2011

Andy Haywood left Boots as IT Director to join the Co-operative Group as Group CIO. Haywood’s role as group CIO reported directly to The Cooperative’s Group CEO Peter Marks at the Manchester based retailer, pharmacy, funeral services and banking group. This was a new role for the Co-operative Group as it puts IT on a higher cross organisational role.

May 2011 In a CIO ProfileAndy Haywood describes how the Boots organisation has rediscovered the importance of IT: “The transformation plan means that while Boots has increased its IT capex over the three-year period, Haywood has had to remain rigidly disciplined with the opex. “We have very tough cost targets and we are constantly looking at them,”

November 2009 – December 2011 Andy Haywood joins Boots as IT Director following the organisation’s previous decision to scrap the role. Haywood and his team created a greater focus on delivery and broke up large outsourced contracts the retailer had relied on.

6 August 2007 Boots dropped the role of IT director, after Rob Fraser stepped down from the position. Boots said at the time of Fraser leaving to join supermarket Sainsburys: “The work Rob Fraser was doing has come to a natural end. He did a great job completing a big integration project and wants to move on.”

Boots had completed a six-year IT overhaul costing £350m. Among the projects involved was the roll-out of a SAP enterprise resource planning system in place of several legacy systems.

The source added that the company would not replace Fraser, instead dividing the IT director function among the next tier of systems managers at the firm. “The IT director role is not being replaced in the future.”