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Obama Lawyer to Join Walgreens Boots Alliance as Legal Boss (1)

Aug. 27, 2021, 3:46 PMUpdated: Aug. 27, 2021, 5:09 PM

Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. has named former Obama administration lawyer Danielle Gray as its new executive vice president and global chief legal officer.

Gray will officially join the Deerfield, Ill.-based parent Walgreens and Boots UK Limited pharmacy chains in mid-September, according to a Friday statement. She will lead the company’s legal and compliance teams and manage emerging risks.

The company’s current top lawyer is global chief administrative officer and general counsel Marco Pagni, a former McDonald’s Corp. lawyer who has worked for WBA since the completed merger of Walgreen Co. and Alliance Boots in 2014. Pagni earlier this year announced he’s leaving to pursue other opportunities, and he’s assisting the transition, the company said.

Gray takes her new post after Walgreens closed the sale of its pharmaceutical wholesale business Alliance Healthcare to AmerisourceBergen Corp. in June for $6.5 billion in cash and stock.

Walgreens’ pharmacies have administered over 29 million Covid-19 vaccines in the U.S. as of August 4, according to a company statement. The company’s U.S. retail sales increased 5%year over year and
reached nearly $1.9 billion in profit in the third quarter as vaccinations and looser pandemic restrictions increased traffic in its stores.

But as the Delta variant has driven caseloads up, the drugstore recently reinstated its mask mandate for U.S. retail employees and issued a vaccination requirement for employees in its support offices.

“This is a pivotal time for the company,” Gray said in the statement. “I’ve seen firsthand throughout the Covid-19 pandemic the critical role that WBA’s trusted brands are playing.”

Gray most recently spent three years as chief legal and administrative officer of Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina.

She began her career as an associate with O’Melveny & Myers and returned to the firm as partner in 2014 after around seven years with Barack Obama’s presidential campaign and administrations. Her roles during that time included deputy national policy director for Obama for America in 2007, associate counsel to the president, and most recently assistant to the president and cabinet secretary.

Gray also worked briefly an associate with Skadden and was senior counsel to the assistant attorney general of the U.S. Department of Justice’s civil division.

Walgreens also named two other new executives. Former Walmart Inc. and Sam’s Club executives Tracey Brown and Jeff Gruener will join Walgreens as president of retail products and chief customer officer, and chief financial officer, respectively.

“I am pleased to welcome Danielle, Tracey and Jeff to the WBA family,” said WBA CEO Roz Brewer in the statement. “They will be instrumental in continuing to build momentum across our business.”

(Adds Pagni's role with McDonald's in third paragraph and comment from WBA CEO Roz Brewer in last paragraph. )

To contact the reporter on this story: Ruiqi Chen in Washington, D.C. at rchen@bloombergindustry.com

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Chris Opfer at copfer@bloomberglaw.com;
John Hughes at jhughes@bloombergindustry.com

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