As CVS Pharmacists Vaccinate Millions, the New CEO of CVS Health Navigates the Transition


CVS Health made USD 268.7 billion in total revenue in the year 2020. Although the company is best known for its retail stores, it also has a growing segment in pharmacy benefits and recently entered the health insurance industry with the acquisition of Aetna. Amid the pandemic, a major CEO transition was in the works after the decade-long reign of Larry Merlo, a pharmacist by training, with Karen Lynch, Aetna President, to take over. The leadership transition from Larry Merlo to Karen Lynch announced during this period poses a challenge due to the current events as well as differences in their backgrounds. This case introduces challenges and strategies for successful leadership transitions and will aid students in identifying these challenges and how to manage them. Key events for CVS Health and the role of their retail pharmacists are presented as context for CVS Health’s growth and public health opportunities due to the pandemic.

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