New NACDS Chairman Stresses Pro-Customer Leadership Role


NACDS’s Gourlay embraces leading the industry proactively through changing health-care industry.

In his inaugural remarks as the new chairman of the Board of the National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS), Alex Gourlay embraced a theme that emphasizes understanding and meeting the customer’s needs.

“The whole association of NACDS is going to be based on that theme moving forward, in meeting the health-care 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,” Gourlay said. He spoke at the NACDS 2017 Annual Meeting in Scottsdale, AZ.

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Gourlay, Co-Chief Operating Officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance and President of Walgreen Co., said that: “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 discussed the shifting dynamics in the political environment, in retail and in health care. Specifically, he pointed to changing trends in fulfillment, demographics, shopper behavior, wellness, and personalization.

He highlighted 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,” he said.

Gourlay also described the importance of “putting customers’ first” in three areas:

  • Health-care affordability and price transparency

  • 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

Recognizing corporate social responsibility “can form the basis for further efforts to commit to the communities the industry serves,” he 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.”

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