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In this June 24, 2019 file photo, shoppers enter a Walgreens store in Los Angeles. Walgreens leader Stefano Pessina will step down as CEO and become executive chairman of the drugstore chain’s board once they pick a new leader. The company also said Monday, July 27, 2020, that its current executive chairman, former McDonald’s CEO Jim Skinner, will leave that role but remain on the board.

Marcio Jose Sanchez

Walgreens CEO Plans To Step Down Amid Management Shakeup

The Deerfield-based Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc. announced Monday that its CEO, Stefano Pessina, has decided to step down.

Pessina, a multibillionaire from Italy, has led the massive drug-store chain since Walgreens and Alliance Boots completed their merger nearly six years ago. Walgreens said its board of directors is looking for a replacement for Pessina and he will become executive chairman when the company gets a new chief executive.

The current executive chairman, James Skinner, will remain on the board after Pessina becomes executive chairman, the company said.

The massive chain of drug stores did not give any reason for the changes at the top in its news release or in a regulatory filing about the move.

Federal investigators sought records about Walgreens and other companies in a subpoena served July 17 to the office of Illinois House Speaker Michael Madigan, D-Chicago.

The subpoena asked Madigan’s office to turn over “any and all documents and communications with or concerning Walgreens Company,” including records pertaining to lobbyists and consultants for “Walgreens or any of its parents, subsidiaries or affiliated business entities.”

Walgreens has declined to comment on the investigation.

The subpoena that mentioned Walgreens came on the same day federal prosecutors in Chicago revealed their corruption case against Commonwealth Edison. The power company admitted a long-running bribery scheme to curry favor with Madigan and win lucrative legislation in Springfield.

Madigan has not been charged and, through his aides, the veteran politician has denied wrongdoing.

For many years, the lobbyists that Walgreens employed in Springfield included Michael McClain, a close Madigan confidante who also was the top state-government lobbyist for ComEd.

Federal agents raided McClain’s home in Quincy last year, and McClain told WBEZ earlier this year that investigators asked him to cooperate with their probe.

Dan Mihalopoulos is an investigative reporter for WBEZ. Dave McKinney covers state politics. Follow them @dmihalopoulos and @davemckinney.

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