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Drugstore chain Rite Aid announced that it has hired Heyward Donigan, most recently CEO of Sapphire Digital, a website for analyzing health-care plans, as its new CEO. She succeeds John Standley, who stepped down last year after a planned merger with Albertsons was vetoed by shareholders.

The Wall Street Journal reports that Donigan “said she would look for ways to make Rite Aid more efficient but hopes to avoid further job cuts … Rite Aid needs to work on online ordering and prescription delivery, but customers still will want to visit drugstores, and the chain has a strong brand in the areas where it is located, Ms. Donigan said. The company struck a deal with Inc. in June to allow customers to pick up online orders at Rite Aid stores, and Ms. Donigan said she hoped to find more such incentives to persuade customers to visit.”

Donigan added, “It’s not just taking a hammer to the business.”
KC's View:
I’m thinking maybe a buzz-saw. Because while I can’t say I’ve been in every Rite Aid store, I can say that I’ve never been in one that really impressed me, or that is as good as a CVS or Walgreen.

CVS, especially, is an example of a company that actually has taken a hammer to the business, investing in healthcare businesses and developing entirely new expertises that it believes will serve its customers better. If Donigan thinks she can just fiddle around the edges and tweak the model a bit, well, I think she’s kidding herself.

Then again, her background seems to be insurance, so maybe she’ll bring fresh eyes and insights to Rite Aid, which could use both.