Rite Aid Names Heyward Donigan as its New CEO
- by Jordan Okumura
CAMP HILL, PA - Do you hear that? That’s the sound of one small step for woman and one giant leap for womankind! This week, Rite Aid—the pharmaceutical chain that late last year terminated its merger agreement with Albertsons—appointed Heyward Donigan as its new Chief Executive Officer and member of its Board of Directors, effective immediately. Fortune rang in Rite Aid’s announcement by revealing that Donigan brings the tally of women CEOs at Fortune 500 companies to a record high.
“I am deeply honored to have been selected to lead a company with such a strong brand, deep culture, and dedicated team of associates,” said Donigan. “I see tremendous opportunity to revitalize the company’s position as a leader in meeting the health and wellness needs of customers and patients through our store and pharmacy benefit management platforms. I look forward to working with the talented Rite Aid team, as we continue to support the needs of our customers and patients and drive growth, improved performance and shareholder value.”
According to a press release, Donigan is a recognized leader with 30 years of experience in all aspects of the healthcare industry. Most recently, she served as the President and CEO of Sapphire Digital, helping to lead the company’s strategy and operations to record growth and consumer engagement. Prior to Sapphire Digital, Donigan was President and CEO of ValueOptions, where she drove innovation and helped grow the company’s revenues to over $1 billion. In addition, she has served as Executive Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer at Premera Blue Cross; Senior Vice President of all operations at Cigna Healthcare; and held executive roles at General Electric, Empire BCBS, and U.S. Healthcare. She has also sat on the Board of Directors at several public companies, including Kindred Healthcare, and holds a Master of Public Administration from New York University and a Bachelor of Arts in English from the University of Virginia.
“Today's announcement is an important step in positioning Rite Aid for the future, and we are confident that Heyward is the right person to lead the company in capitalizing on the opportunities in the evolving healthcare environment,” said Bruce Bodaken, Chairman of the Board of Directors. “Over the past several months, the Rite Aid Board conducted a thorough search, and Heyward’s strong senior executive experience, proven leadership capabilities, and consistent track record of driving profitable growth, as well as her broad healthcare knowledge and digital shopping technology expertise set her apart. Her skillset will be invaluable as we work to deliver on the full potential of our business and create additional long-term value for our shareholders, associates, customers, and patients.”
The announcement comes months after Rite Aid first revealed that John Standley would be resigning from the CEO position. Standley will step down from his role as Chief Executive Officer in connection with this latest announcement, as planned.
“I’d like to thank our talented Rite Aid team for their dedication and support in taking great care of our customers and patients throughout my tenure,” said Standley. “I have tremendous confidence in this team, and I’m excited about the future prospects of this company.”
Bodaken added, “On behalf of the Board, I want to thank John for his numerous achievements in helping to reshape Rite Aid in the face of an evolving environment during his tenure. In particular, I want to thank him for his leadership in guiding the Company through some incredibly challenging times. His commitment to facilitating a smooth transition for Rite Aid is greatly appreciated, and we wish him the best in his future endeavors.”
Congratulations to Heyward Donigan on her new CEO role!