CVS CEO Larry Merlo is Trying to Make the World Healthy One Customer at a Time

CVS CEO Larry Merlo is building his brand through a trifecta of strategies: acquisition of other pharmacies, expansion of CVS clinics and partnerships.

Larry Merlo, CEO of CVS, No. 7 of the 1,000 Largest Public/Private Companies

Larry Merlo hasn’t had an easy tenure. Since announcing that CVS would stop selling cigarettes and change its name to CVS Health in February 2014, it’s a been a struggle for the pharmacy retailer. Shares are currently down 19%.

However, the company can probably withstand a blip in it’s bottom line. With $177.5 billion in net revenues in 2016, CVS reaches 100+ million people each year through nearly 9,700 retail pharmacies, 1,100 walk-in medical clinics, a pharmacy benefits management firm with nearly 90 million plan members, a provider of pharmacy services to long-term care facilities, and expanding specialty pharmacy services.

According to, in states where CVS has greater than a 15% market share, cigarette sales overall are down by 1%, equating to 5 fewer packs per smoker.

The company continues to look for expansion and growth opportunities to catch up with and overcome competitors Walgreens and Amazon.

In early August, CVS announced it would expand its medical clinics program and data network to get more involved in helping people manage chronic diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure and asthma.

However, its most recent acquisition of the Fagen chain, a small, 45-store chain in select parts of the midwest, will probably not do a lot to help the company achieve its growth goals.

Going forward, Merlo is focused on finding and securing strategic partnerships.

CEO Facts

President (since May 12, 2010) and CEO (since March 1, 2011), CVS Health

Previous Position: President, CVS Pharmacy

Company start date: 1990

First Position at Company: Pharmacist

Age: 61

Education: University of Pittsburgh School of Pharmacy





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