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Retail Industry Updates

New CVS Health CEO Known for Her ‘Relentless Focus on the Customer’

Karen Lynch is currently the executive vice president of CVS Health and president of Aetna.

David Dorman, the chair of the board for CVS Health, said that Karen Lynch “is known for her relentless focus on the customer.” That’s just one reason the company’s board of directors appointed Lynch as the drug chain’s next president and CEO effective Feb. 21.

Lynch is currently the executive vice president of CVS Health and president of Aetna, the healthcare company CVS Health acquired two years ago. She will succeed Larry Merlo, who began his career with the company as a community pharmacist more than 40 years ago, and has served as president and CEO at Woonsocket, R.I.-based CVS Health for a decade.

“As Larry has been transparent with us about his overall plans, we were able to put a thorough, multi-year process in place to consider and evaluate internal and external candidates,” Dorman said. “That process led to the selection of Karen Lynch. Larry’s collaboration with Karen in the coming months will ensure an effective leadership transition.”

Dorman called Lynch a “seasoned professional” who knows the business.

“She brings a strong track record of driving growth and innovation and proven transformational leadership, all of which position her well for success,” Dorman added.

Lynch said she will work to build on the strong foundation that Merlo put in place to continue to make health care more accessible and affordable.

“Never before has our purpose been more critical than during these unprecedented times,” said Lynch, who was named to Fortune’s Most Powerful Women in Business list from 2016 to 2020. “I am highly confident about our company’s future and look forward to further accelerating the value we bring to all of our stakeholders.”

During his tenure, Merlo transformed CVS Health from a regional retail pharmacy into a leading diversified health services company, with over $250 billion in revenues, Dorman said.

“No discussion of Larry’s tenure would be complete without recognizing his leadership of the company’s bold decision to eliminate the sale of tobacco products from all CVS Pharmacy stores, which was widely credited with being a catalyst for the reduction in smoking levels in the U.S.,” Dorman added.