Drug store chain Walgreen is shaking up its financial leadership. The firm has replaced CFO Wade Miquelon with Timothy McLevish, a former finance chief at Kraft Foods Group. No reason was given for the change, although Walgreen said the split was “amicable,” reports the Chicago Tribune.
The move’s timing is interesting, with Walgreen Co. is the cusp of acquiring Switzerland-based counterpart Alliance Boots for $16 billion.
An announcement of the deal, in which Walgreen is buying the remaining 55% of Alliance Boots that it doesn’t already own, could come as soon as Wednesday. Although Walgreen was considering relocating its headquarters to Europe in a so-called “tax inversion” deal, U.K.based SkyNews reported on Tuesday that Walgreen will maintain its headquarters in the United States.
Walgreen had come under pressure from activists and politicians over the possible tax move. Miquelon, as a member of the Alliance Boots board and as CFO of Walgreen, was a key player in the conversations, reported the Tribune.
The newspaper said that Miquelon’s departure was unsurprising, given he had become a “polarizing figure” due to his involvement in “Walgreen’s controversial and protracted spat with Express Scripts Holdings.” Vishnu Lekraj, an analyst at Morningstar, told the Tribune that the move “may give a boost to investors who have some misgivings about management.” That conflict cost Walgreen several billion dollars, most analysts agreed.
When asked by the Tribune to comment on the reason for his departure, Miquelon said, “I think my record speaks for itself, as it always has.”
New Walgreen CFO McLevish spearheaded Kraft’s 2012 split into Kraft Foods Group and Mondelez International. He left Kraft earlier this year. McLevish has also served as CFO of Dublin-based industrial firm Ingersoll Rand and paper manufacturer Mead.
Miquelon has been CFO at Walgreen since June 2008. He will “remain with the company as an adviser during its transition with Alliance Boots,” according to a statement from Walgreen.
Photo: Walgreen Co.