Shares dip as CVS speeds CEO succession

By Reuters
Posted Jan. 24 at 9:59 a.m.

CVS Caremark Corp. said Monday that Larry Merlo will take the reins as the drugstore chain operator’s chief executive in March, two months earlier than expected.

Merlo, who is CVS’ chief operating officer, will become CEO March 1, replacing Thomas Ryan. He had been expected to become CEO in May, according to a succession plan laid out last year. The company did not explain why Merlo’s start date had been moved up.

Ryan will stay on as nonexecutive chairman until he retires at CVS’ annual shareholder meeting in May.

Merlo had been heading up CVS’ retail business, which includes 7,100 drugstores, until last week, when CVS named two executives to oversee the unit on an interim basis. In December, a Delaware court blocked a Wal-Mart Stores executive from taking the job.

CVS shares were down 15 cents, or 0.4 percent, at $35.26 in morning trading.

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