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Walgreens elevated CEO chief of staff Luke Rauch to chief merchant and hired Calvin Klein’s Linh Peters as chief marketing officer and Walmart eCommerce's Bala Visalatha as chief product officer, a newly created position.

Walgreens names chief merchandising, marketing officers

Walmart U.S. veteran tabbed for new chief product officer role

Drugstore giant Walgreens has promoted Luke Rauch to chief merchant and hired Calvin Klein’s Linh Peters as chief marketing officer and Walmart’s Bala Visalatha as chief product officer, a newly created position.

Plans call for Rauch, Peters and Visalatha to start in their new posts this month, Deerfield, Ill.-based Walgreens said yesterday. 

“I am thrilled to have Linh, Luke and Bala join the Walgreens retail products and customer leadership team, and I’m confident that their collective decades of retail expertise and deep involvement with launching new customer experiences will accelerate growth in our company,” Tracey Brown, president of retail products and chief customer officer at Walgreens, said in a statement. “As strong innovators in their own right, each have an excellent track record when it comes to successfully identifying white spaces across different customer touchpoints and tracking evolving consumer trends, which will be instrumental as we transform our business.” 

Luke Rauch-Walgreens.jpgRauch (pictured left) becomes senior vice president and chief merchandising officer after serving as as vice president and chief of staff to Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Roz Brewer. In his new role, he will oversee all merchandising activities at Walgreens, which operates nearly 9,000 retail locations across the United States, Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Previously, Rauch led Walgreens’ own-brand strategy in the U.S. and played a key role in defining the drug chain’s retail customer experience, the company noted. He also has served as vice president of commercial strategy and senior director of U.S. insights, among other positions, since joining Walgreens in 2015 from Deloitte Consulting. 

“I am honored to rejoin the Walgreens merchandising organization and look forward to working with the team as we continue to fulfill our purpose of more joyful lives through better health,” Rauch said in a statement. “Walgreens plays such a critical role in communities, and our consumer offer will continue to be pivotal to the company’s overall transformation. I am committed to building on the team’s tremendous momentum, while looking for new ways to best serve our customers and patients.” 

Linh Peters-Walgreens.jpgAs chief marketing officer, Peters (pictured left) will oversee all Walgreens marketing activities, including marketing collaboration, brand design, brand positioning and marketing plan execution. She comes to the company after over a year as global chief marketing officer at fashion brand Calvin Klein.

Peters’ more than 20 years of retail and consumer goods experience includes positions at some of the nation’s biggest brands, including vice president of loyalty, partnerships and licensed store products at Starbucks; head of loyalty marketing and strategy at Ulta Beauty; and vice president of marketing at SpartanNash, as well as marketing and strategy roles at Target and Best Buy.

“Walgreens has an incredible opportunity to help millions of customers and patients transform their lives,” Peters commened. “Throughout my career, I’ve worked collaboratively and cross-functionally to bring a laser focus on the customer experience to everything we do and I look forward to building upon the great momentum we’ve created over the past several years.” 

Bala Visalatha-Walgreens.jpgIn the new role of chief product officer, Visalatha (pictured left) will direct the execution of Walgreens’ customer product strategy and development and user experience, spanning product lines and functions. The company said his organization will work cross-functionally and leverage research, analysis and in-depth knowledge of the entire customer product lifecycle within the portfolio. 

Most recently, Bala served as vice president of at Walmart U.S. eCommerce, where he was integral to the launch of the new Walmart app and website and creation of a unified omnichannel experience for customers, acccording to Walgreens. His 15 years of experience include broad expertise in retail, product management, loyalty programs, digital and omnichannel strategies, including at such brands as Sam’s Club, American Express and General Motors.

“Walgreens plays such a pivotal role in communities nationwide, and it’s exciting to join at a time in which the business is rapidly evolving and transforming,” Visalatha stated. “I look forward to leveraging data and technology to evolve and redefine the customer experience at Walgreens alongside the highly talented team across the country.” 

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