Scottsdale, Ariz. – Alex Gourlay, co-chief operating officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance & president, Walgreen Co., today delivered his inaugural remarks as the chairman of the Board of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS). He described his enthusiasm for helping to build on NACDS’ legacy of leadership on issues of importance to customers.
“The theme for today, and moving forward is the customer – understanding the customer’s needs and meeting them,” Gourlay said. “The whole association of NACDS is going to be based on that theme moving forward, in meeting the healthcare challenges that [former NACDS Chairman] Martin Otto described, and in advancing the Future Value Targeting initiative that [NACDS President and CEO] Steve Anderson described earlier during this meeting.
“Through the Future Value Targeting initiative, we are looking to lead the industry in a proactive and positive way, at a time when we have so much to offer,” Gourlay said.
“We have to tell our story. It is an important way to build trust…And, of course, we have to do more. With our collective power and wisdom we can do more. We need to tell our story and improve our story.”
Gourlay described shifting dynamics in the political environment, in retail and in healthcare. Specifically, he noted changing trends in fulfillment, demographics, shopper behavior, wellness and personalization.
To address these dynamics, Gourlay emphasized the importance of building trust and improving efficiency to better meet the needs of customers. “Building trust is absolutely essential in this marketplace,” he said. “Also, we have to improve efficiency in this marketplace.”
To pursue those goals, he described the importance of putting customers first in three areas. He discussed healthcare affordability and price transparency. He noted opportunities to foster convenience by maximizing efficiency and experience through retailers’ partnerships with suppliers and wholesalers, technological solutions such as e-prescribing, and new pharmacy services. Gourlay concluded by recognizing corporate social responsibility efforts already underway by NACDS chain and associate members alike, which can form the basis for further efforts to commit to the communities the industry serves.
Regarding corporate social responsibility, Gourlay said: “We have to tell our story. It is an important way to build trust. That’s my big area of focus for the months ahead. We want all NACDS chain and associate members to be part of that conversation. And, of course, we have to do more. With our collective power and wisdom we can do more. We need to tell our story and improve our story.”
Today’s business program also included remarks by Richard W. Fisher, who served as president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of Dallas from 2005 to 2015, and David Pothast, US chief customer officer, Johnson & Johnson Consumer, Inc., who supported the session. Similarly, Colin Mackenzie, region head Americas and area general manager North America, GSK Consumer Healthcare, spoke at and supported the Sunday business program. Pothast’s and Mackenzie’s remarks also reflected the pro-consumer and pro-patient themes that have resonated throughout the event.