Stefano Pessina, 2010
|Born||June 4, 1941|
|Alma mater||Polytechnic University of Milan|
|Net worth||US$11.8 billion (August 2018)|
|Title||Vice chairman and CEO, Walgreens Boots Alliance|
|Term||2015 – present|
|Board member of||Walgreens Boots Alliance|
|Spouse(s)||Barbara Pessina (divorced)|
|Partner(s)||Ornella Barra (life partner for over 30 years)|
Stefano Pessina (born June 4, 1941) is an Italian-born Monegasque billionaire businessman and the vice chairman, chief executive officer (CEO), and the single largest shareholder of Walgreens Boots Alliance.
In 1977, Pessina took over his family's pharmaceutical wholesaler in Naples and turned it into Alliance Santé, a Franco-Italian pharmaceutical wholesale group. In 1997, it merged with Alliance UniChem, and he joined its board of directors. From 2001 to 2004, he served as its CEO.
He served as deputy chairman, and later as chairman. The company merged with Boots Group PLC in 2006 and was taken private in July 2007. Pessina was chairman of Alliance Boots from 2007 to 2014 and currently serves as Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer. Pessina is a director of Walgreens Boots Alliance. He is a director of the Consumer Goods Forum.
Pessina is divorced and has two adult children. His ex-wife is the cousin of the architect Richard Rogers. His son Jacopo Pessina serves as Director M&A and Healthcare Innovation International at Walgreens Boots Alliance.
UK Labour Party controversy
In a 31 January 2015 interview for The Sunday Telegraph, Pessina commented on the prospect of Britain's Labour Party winning the UK general election in May 2015, "If they acted as they speak, it would be a catastrophe ... The problem is would they act that way or not? One thing is to threaten and to shout but it is completely different to be in charge and to manage the country day-to-day." He described Labour’s business policies as "not helpful for business, not helpful for the country and in the end it probably won’t be helpful for them". The Sunday Telegraph noted that Pessina "declined to elaborate on which specific policies he disliked".
On Sunday 1 February, Labour's shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna, responded in The Independent, "The British people and British businesses will draw their own conclusions when those who don’t live here, don’t pay tax in this country and lead firms that reportedly avoid making a fair contribution in what they pay purport to know what is in Britain’s best interest." On 2 February, in a live Q&A session with Sky News, the Labour Party leader Ed Miliband said, "The chairman of Boots lives in Monaco and doesn't pay British taxes ... I don't think people should take kindly to being told how to vote by someone who avoids paying his taxes."
On 2 February, Walgreens Boots Alliance stated, "The comments made by Stefano Pessina were a small part of a much larger conversation and have been taken out of context ... Stefano Pessina was expressing his personal views only and is not campaigning against Ed Miliband or the Labour Party." On 6 February, Allister Heath, deputy editor of The Telegraph, described the "attacks" by Labour and Liberal Democrat politicians on Pessina, "one of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs", as being "as nonsensical as they were indefensible". He currently makes 540 times the median employee for the company. Pharmacists for the company have not received any raises in over four years.
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- Bawden, Tom (1 February 2015). "Boots boss Stefano Pessina (who lives in Monaco) branded a 'disgrace' for attack on Ed Miliband". The Independent. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
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- Heath, Allister (6 February 2015). "These attacks against Stefano Pessina are unfair and must end". The Telegraph. Retrieved 16 February 2015.