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Walgreens names new tech head as C-suite shakeup continues

Photo of Walgreens Neal Sample
Neal Sample has been CIO of Walgreens Boots Alliance.

Walgreens Boots Alliance has tapped a technology executive with health care experience as chief information officer. 

The pharmacy and health care services company named Neal Sample as its new executive VP and CIO, effective immediately. He succeeds Hsiao Wang, who departed Walgreens in early October, less than a year after he was hired. 

Sample’s appointment comes a few weeks after Walgreens named Tim Wentworth as CEO. Most recently, Wentworth served as the founding CEO of Cigna’s health services division, Evernorth. Prior to that, he was the CEO of Express Scripts, the largest pharmacy benefits manager in the U.S.

Sample is an award-winning technologist and seasoned executive who has a strong track record of driving growth and innovation, with more than 20 years of deep experience across highly regulated industries including healthcare, financial services and consumer internet, according to a statement by Walgreens. 

He has been working alongside WBA technology leaders during the last month to assess and advance the company’s technology goals. Moving forward, he will lead the strategy for WBA’s IT function and the implementation of its technology and digital innovation, with an emphasis on improving the digital experience for customers and patients as WBA continues its next phase of growth into a customer-centric health care company.

From 2019 to 2022, Sample served as the CIO for Northwestern Mutual, where he rebuilt, optimized and centralized the technology function for the company. Before that, he was COO and CIO of Express Scripts, where he streamlined operations, accelerated growth, improved key operating metrics, launched a new product line, led the architecture and platform delivery of complex information systems for nearly 30,000 employees and 80 million patients nationwide.

Sample also held several roles within the enterprise growth business at American Express including executive VP, chief marketing technologist and CIO, before being named president. He previously held roles at eBay, Yahoo! Inc. and RightOrder.

Sample currently serves as chairman of Wellfield Technologies,  as well as the chair of the board of Trustees for the University of Health Sciences and Pharmacy in St. Louis, Mo.

“I am excited to welcome Neal to our executive leadership team and confident that as our CIO he will help take our IT capabilities to the next level using his strong background and experience in formulating modernization plans, implementing technology solutions, accelerating growth and redefining standards of execution excellence,” said Wentworth. “He will be a key component to achieving our goals as we build on the company’s pharmacy strength and trusted brand to evolve healthcare delivery.”

Sample will report to Wentworth as a member of the executive committee and serve on the IT governance committee. 

“WBA has a powerful vision to be the leading partner in reimagining local healthcare and wellbeing for all,” he said. “I am eager and excited to continue working alongside an incredibly talented and dedicated team to advance technology and digital innovation at WBA toward our goal to be the independent partner of choice in pharmacy and healthcare services.”

Walgreens operates more than 12,500 locations across the U.S., Europe and Latin America,

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