CVS taps veteran retail exec to lead pharmacy segment

CVS Pharmacy
CVS has named a new executive to lead its retail pharmacy segment. (Getty/Serenethos)

CVS Health has tapped a new executive to head its retail pharmacy segment.

Neela Montgomery will step into the role of executive vice president and president of CVS Pharmacy Nov. 30, the company announced Monday. In the position, she will oversee the healthcare giant's 10,000 retail pharmacies.

Montgomery has more than 20 years of retail experience and most recently served as CEO of Crate & Barrel, CVS said.

"Neela is a seasoned retail industry leader with extensive digital and e-commerce experience," said Karen S. Lynch, who will become president and CEO of CVS Health in February 2021, in a statement. "She brings deep consumer insights that will allow us to better anticipate consumers' changing needs and deliver even more value to our customers in local, personalized ways. Neela is well-positioned to lead CVS Pharmacy today and into the future."

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CVS has made a number of executive moves of late after announcing that longtime CEO Larry Merlo will retire early next year. His successor, Lynch, was previously president of the Aetna business segment.

Daniel Finke has been named as the next president of Aetna.

Montgomery also served previously as group executive board member of the Otto Group, which is one of the world's leading e-commerce retailers, and held a number of leadership roles with U.K.-based retailer Tesco.

"CVS Pharmacy plays a unique and important role in the health needs and lives of Americans. Increasingly these health care touchpoints will be digital, virtual, and in-person," she said in a statement. "This is a fantastic opportunity to help accelerate the company's bold vision to deliver consumer health services in the community and ensure CVS Pharmacy plays an essential role in customers' health moments."

CVS' pharmacies have played a critical role in providing access to COVID-19 testing, with more than 6 million tests administered since March at 4,000 locations nationally. It is also set to be a pivotal figure in dispensing a vaccine for the virus and has signed on with the federal government to quickly disseminate the vaccine to nursing facilities alongside other pharmacy chains.