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] Ornella graduated as a pharmacist from the University of Genoa in 1979.[6]


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. He and Barra became partners both personally and professionally.[10] During this time, Barra also contributed[how?] 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]

Barra is an honorary professor[13] at the University of Nottingham's School of Pharmacy, where she lectures on the internationalisation of pharmacy business and issues of corporate social responsibility.[14]

Barra founded, and is an executive director of the European Pharmacists Forum.[15] She is a member of the board of directors of the International Federation of Pharmaceutical Wholesalers (IFPW), and became chairman in October 2014.[16] She was president of Associazione Distributori Farmaceutici (ADF) (association of pharmaceutical distributors) from 2006 to 2009.[17] She became an executive member of ECR Europe (Efficient Consumer Response) in 2007.[18]

From 2013 to 2019 Barra was a member of the board of directors of Assicurazioni Generali.[19]

Barra at a London "Boots" location

Barra is a member of the board of directors of AmerisourceBergen since January 2015.[20][21]

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. ^ "Ornella on list of powerful women". Nottingham Post. 5 October 2011. Retrieved 23 April 2015.
  14. ^ "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.
  15. ^ "EPF Overview". Archived from the original on 25 December 2008. Retrieved 28 May 2010.
  16. ^ "IFPW". Archived from the original on 17 January 2009. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
  17. ^ "COMITATO DI PRESIDENZA". Archived from the original on 23 February 2010. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
  18. ^ "Executive Board". Archived from the original on 29 January 2010. Retrieved 27 May 2010.
  19. ^ "Generali, conferma per Donnet e Galateri. «Il dividendo salirà ma con meno pay-out»". Il Sole 24 Ore. 7 May 2019.
  20. ^ "AmerisourceBergen appoints Ornella Barra to the Board of Directors". talent4boards.com. 16 January 2015. Retrieved 18 September 2018.
  21. ^ "Board of Directors - AmerisourceBergen Corporation". AmerisourceBergen Corporation. Retrieved 18 September 2018.

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