Rite Aid’s Newest CEO Heyward Donigan Comes With A Proven Track Record

Heyward Donigan, Rite Aid CEO

Rite Aid has a new CEO: veteran healthcare executive Heyward Donigan, who last month replaced John Standley.

“We are confident that Heyward is the right person to lead the company in capitalizing on the opportunities in the evolving healthcare environment,” Bruce Bodaken, chairman of the Camp Hill, Pennsylvania.-based drugstore chain said in the announcement.

“Heyward’s strong senior executive experience, proven leadership capabilities and consistent track record of driving profitable growth, as well as her broad healthcare knowledge and digital shopping technology expertise set her apart,” Bodaken said. “Her skillset will be invaluable as we work to deliver on the full potential of our business and create additional long-term value for our shareholders, associates, customers and patients.”

The news follows a major management restructuring at Rite Aid earlier this year that resulted in a new chief operating officer, chief financial officer and retail operations chief, among other appointments, according to Supermarket News.

“Leadership changes had been expected among retail industry observers after shareholders pressed the company and merger partner Albertsons to kill their $24 billion deal last August,” Supermarket News wrote.

Rite Aid is the third-largest drugstore chain, operating 2,466 stores in 18 states and oversees pharmacy benefits manager EnvisionRxOptions, according to Health Leaders. The company posted $21.6 billion in revenues in fiscal 2019.

“Donigan takes the reins as Rite Aid and rivals CVS Health and Walgreens Boots Alliance battle to expand traditional pharmacy services and extend their reach into provider services, both digitally, and through walk-in clinics and urgent care centers,” Health Leaders wrote.

Donigan comes to Rite Aid after most recently serving as president and CEO of Sapphire Digital (formerly Vitals), which designs and develops omnichannel platforms that help consumers choose their best fit healthcare providers. Before that she was president and CEO of ValueOptions, then the nation’s largest independent behavioral health improvement company. Previously, Donigan served as executive vice president and chief marketing officer at Premera Blue Cross.

Earlier in her career, Donigan served as senior vice president of all operations at Cigna Healthcare. She also held executive roles at General Electric, Empire BCBS and U.S. Healthcare, and previously served on the boards of several public companies, including Kindred Healthcare.

“I am deeply honored to have been selected to lead a company with such a strong brand, deep culture and dedicated team of associates,” Donigan said in the announcement.

“I see tremendous opportunity to revitalize the company’s position as a leader in meeting the health and wellness needs of customers and patients through our store and pharmacy benefit management platforms,” she said. “I look forward to working with the talented Rite Aid team, as we continue to support the needs of our customers and patients and drive growth, improved performance and shareholder value.”

 

She’s No. 91 on Chief Executive and RHR International’s CEO1000 Tracker, a ranking of the top 1,000 public/private companies

Headquarters: Camp Hill, PA

Age: 58

Education: New York University, MPA Finance; University of Virginia, B.A.

First joined company:  2019

Prior to joining Rite Aid: Sapphire Digital

Named CEO: 2019