Ornella Barra is Co-Chief Operating Officer for Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc.
Walgreens Boots Alliance is the largest retail pharmacy, health and daily living destination across the U.S. and Europe. Together with its equity method investments, Walgreens Boots Alliance has a presence in more than 25* countries, employs more than 385,000* people, and is:
- a global leader in pharmacy-led, health and wellbeing retail with approximately 14,500** stores in 11* countries
- one of the largest global pharmaceutical wholesale and distribution networks with over 390* distribution centers delivering to more than 230,000*** pharmacies, doctors, health centers and hospitals each year in 20* countries
- one of the world’s largest purchaser of prescription drugs and many other health and wellbeing products
Born in Italy and now of Monegasque nationality, Ornella graduated from the University of Genoa with a degree in pharmacy and started out as a pharmacist, first managing and then setting up her own pharmacy.
In September 2017, Fortune magazine published its annual list of the “50 Most Powerful Women in international business” (outside the U.S.) in which Ornella was featured in 13th position. Ornella has been ranked in the top 15 of the list every year since 2010.
* As of 31 August 2017, using publicly available information for AmerisourceBergen.
** As of 28 June 2018
*** For 12 months ending 31 August 2017, using publicly available information for AmerisourceBergen
In the late 80s, Ornella was appointed Managing Director and later Chairman of Alleanza Salute Italia, which later became Italy’s leading pharmaceutical wholesaler. She joined the board of Alliance Santé, an international pharmaceutical company and relentlessly remained at the forefront of every deal, helping to establish this company following a series of acquisitions.
At the end of the 90s, Ornella was appointed as board member and Executive Director of Alliance UniChem Plc. In 2006, Alliance UniChem Plc. and the Boots Group PLC merged, forming Alliance Boots and the following year Ornella became Chief Executive, Pharmaceutical Wholesale Division and later Chief Executive, Wholesale and Brands.
Ornella has played a leading role in the development and implementation of the partnership between Alliance Boots and Walgreen Co. (Walgreens), which merged to form Walgreens Boots Alliance on 31 December 2014.
On 19 September 2017, the company announced it had secured regulatory clearance for an amended and restated asset purchase agreement to purchase 1,932 stores, three distribution centers and related inventory from Rite Aid Corporation for $4.375 billion in cash and other consideration. Ownership of the remaining stores is expected to be transferred in phases, with the goal being to complete the store transfers in spring 2018.
Walgreens Boots Alliance has a long-term partnership with AmerisourceBergen, one of the largest global pharmaceutical sourcing and distribution services companies. In August 2016, Walgreens Boots Alliance exercised second tranche of warrants to purchase AmerisourceBergen common stock, reaching almost 24% of share ownership. The net earnings attributable to this investment are classified within the operating income of the company’s Pharmaceutical Wholesale segment run by Ornella Barra. In January 2015, Ornella was appointed to the Board of Directors of AmerisourceBergen.
Within Walgreens Boots Alliance, Ornella Barra, co-Chief Operating Officer, oversees the Retail Pharmacy International Division businesses outside the UK and Republic Of Ireland and the Pharmaceutical Wholesale Division, as well as Global Human Resources, Global Communications, Global IT function, Global Brands, CSR for the group and other business services for the company.
The Pharmaceutical Wholesale Division, which mainly operates under the Alliance Healthcare brand, supplies medicines, other healthcare products and related services to more than 110,000** pharmacies, doctors, health centers and hospitals each year from 289* distribution centers in 11* countries.
Ornella is also chair of the Walgreens Boots Alliance Social Responsibility Meeting. In this role, she oversees all corporate social responsibility activities across the Company and will be pivotal in building a strong platform for this agenda to thrive across Walgreen Boots Alliance.
* As of 31 August 2017 excluding equity method investments
** For 12 months ended 31 August 2017 excluding equity method investments