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Rite Aid makes moves at top amid Walgreens deal


Rite Aid is making some key executive moves even as the company is on the verge of merging with Walgreens in a $17.2 billion deal.

Rite Aid announced that Darren Karst has been promoted to the combined role of senior executive VP and CFO and chief administrative officer, effective immediately. He will continue to report to Rite Aid chairman and CEO John T. Standley.

Karst, who joined Rite Aid in August 2014 as the company’s executive VP and CFO, is assuming the CAO responsibilities currently held by Frank Vitrano, who will remain with the company as its chief strategic business development officer.

In addition to Karst’s current responsibilities for all aspects of the company’s finance, accounting, treasury, tax, investor relations, legal, risk management, internal assurance and asset protection functions, he will now also be responsible for the company’s information technology, indirect procurement and operating efficiency functions.

The company also announced the appointment of Jim Comitale, currently assistant general counsel, to senior VP, general counsel and secretary, reporting to Karst. He is succeeding Marc Strassler, who will continue to serve as Rite Aid’s corporate counsel.

Rite Aid has nearly 4,600 stores in 31 states and the District of Columbia and fiscal 2015 annual revenues of $26.5 billion.

Two days following the announcement that Rite Aid would be acquired by Chicago-based Walgreens, Rite Aid reported a 1% increase in same-store sales for the four weeks ended Oct. 24.

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