Ornella Barra

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Ornella Barra
Ornella Barra.jpg
Ornella Barra
BornDecember 1953 (1953-12) (age 65)
Chiavari, Genoa, Italy
Alma materUniversity of Genoa
TitleCo-chief operating officer, Walgreens Boots Alliance
Partner(s)Stefano Pessina

Ornella Barra (born December 1953) is an Italian-born Monegasque businesswoman.[1] A qualified pharmacist, she is co-chief operating officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance.[2] She has been the partner of the Italian billionaire Stefano Pessina for over 30 years.[3] Ornella was ranked 27th in Fortune Magazine’s 2018 most powerful women in business for female executives outside the United States.[4]


Ornella Barra was born in December 1953[5] in Chiavari, Genoa, northwest Italy,[6][7] into a family of entrepreneurs.[8] Having graduated as a pharmacist from the University of Genoa in 1979,[6] began her career as a manager of a pharmacy which she then acquired.[citation needed]


After building up a regional pharmaceutical distribution company, Di Pharma, she sold the business to Alleanza Salute Italia[9] (now Alliance Healthcare Italia), a firm founded and managed by Italian entrepreneur Stefano Pessina. The company later grew to become Italy's leading pharmaceutical wholesaler. He and Barra became partners both personally and professionally, sharing a house in Monaco.[10] During this time, Barra also contributed to the creation of Alliance Santé, the Franco-Italian group with interests spanning Europe, and was made a board member in 1990.[11] Following Alliance Santé's merger with UniChem in 1997, she became a board member and Executive Director of Alliance Unichem.[12]

Barra is co-chief operating officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance,[2] a firm created through the combination of Walgreens and Alliance Boots in December 2014.[13] Within the firm, she oversees the Retail Pharmacy International Division businesses outside the UK and Republic of Ireland, 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.[14][15][16][17]

Professional activities[edit]

Barra is an honorary professor[18] at the University of Nottingham's School of Pharmacy, where she lectures on the internationalisation of pharmacy business and issues of corporate social responsibility.[19] She is also a member of the external advisory board for the school's activity at the University's Malaysia Campus.[20]

Barra founded, and is an executive director of the European Pharmacists Forum.[21] She is a member of the board of directors of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (IFPW), and became chairman in October 2014.[22] She was president of Associazione Distributori Farmaceutici (ADF) (association of pharmaceutical distributors) from 2006 to 2009.[23] She became an executive member of ECR Europe (Efficient Consumer Response) in 2007.[24]

In April 2013, Barra was appointed to the board of directors of Assicurazioni Generali, Italy's largest insurance company.[25]

Barra at a London "Boots" location

Barra is a member of the board of directors of AmerisourceBergen, one of the largest pharmaceutical sourcing and distribution services companies, since January 2015.[26][27]

Personal life[edit]

She has been the partner of Stefano Pessina, vice chairman and chief executive officer (CEO) of Walgreens Boots Alliance, for over 30 years.[3]


  1. ^ "ORNELLA BARRA - Company Director Check". www.flixens.com. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b Sweeney, Brigid (18 June 2016). "Meet the new Walgreens COO who's also CEO Pessina's companion". Crain's Chicago Business. Retrieved 28 July 2016.
  3. ^ a b "Work is the drug that keeps Boots billionaire on song". The Sunday Times. 18 November 2012. Retrieved 26 April 2014.
  4. ^ "Ornella Barra". fortune.com. 25 September 2018. Retrieved 1 October 2018.
  5. ^ According to Bloomberg Businessweek she was aged 57 when her profile was retrieved on 28 August 2010; Simon Bowers, ‘Unichem's low-key Ornella Barra’, The Guardian, 5 August 2005, describes her as 51.
  6. ^ a b ‘Biography’, ornellabarra.com
  7. ^ Felsted, Andrea. "The cool chemist with health as a "hobby"". Financial Times. The Financial Times Ltd. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  8. ^ Simon Bowers, ‘Unichem's low-key Ornella Barra’, The Guardian, 5 August 2005.
  9. ^ "Speaker Profiles". Archived from the original on 6 January 2010. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
  10. ^ , Harry Wallop ‘Business profile: A recluse who keeps making the headlines’, The Telegraph, 31 March 2007.
  11. ^ The Pharma Letter. "UniChem Farmaceutica/Alliance Sante merger". Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  12. ^ Simon Bowers. "Unichem's low-key Ornella Barra". the Guardian. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  13. ^ [(http://www.marketwatch.com/story/walgreens-and-alliance-boots-complete-step-2-of-merger-to-form-first-global-pharmacy-led-health-and-wellbeing-enterprise-2014-12-31]
  14. ^ Ornella Barra, Co-COO, Walgreens Boots Alliance http://fortune.com/most-powerful-women-international/2016/ornella-barra-10/
  15. ^ "Ornella Barra". bitc.org.uk. 2 January 2013. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  16. ^ "Ornella Barra, Co-Chief Operating Officer for Walgreens Boots Alliance, Inc. - Walgreens Boots Alliance". www.walgreensbootsalliance.com. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  17. ^ [Ornellabarra.com][better source needed]
  18. ^ "Ornella on list of powerful women". Nottingham Post. 5 October 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  19. ^ "Ornella Barra is named in Fortune magazine's top 50 women in business". Archived from the original on 2 December 2010. Retrieved 25 November 2010.
  20. ^ "Press releases". Nottingham.ac.uk. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  21. ^ "EPF Overview". Archived from the original on 25 December 2008. Retrieved 28 May 2010.
  22. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20090117042229/http://www.ifpw.com/index.html. Archived from the original on 17 January 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2010. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  23. ^ "COMITATO DI PRESIDENZA". Archived from the original on 23 February 2010. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
  24. ^ "Executive Board". Archived from the original on 29 January 2010. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
  25. ^ "Ornella Barra dall'impero globale di Alliance Boots al Cda delle Generali". Archivio - la Repubblica.it. Retrieved 2 January 2015.
  26. ^ "AmerisourceBergen appoints Ornella Barra to the Board of Directors". talent4boards.com. 16 January 2015. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  27. ^ "Board of Directors - AmerisourceBergen Corporation". AmerisourceBergen Corporation. Retrieved 18 September 2018.

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