History-maker Rosalind Brewer lands new role after shock resignation as Fortune 500 CEO

Abu Mubarik April 09, 2024
Rosalind Brewer. Photo via Walgreens Boots Alliance

In 2021, Rosalind “Roz” Brewer became the only black to lead a Fortune 500 company when she was named the CEO of Walgreens, the U.S. pharmacy chain operator. Before her appointment, Brewer served as the chief operating officer at Starbucks.

In 2023, she left Walgreens, where she became the third Black woman to lead a Fortune 500 company. Today, she has joined the Black Economic Alliance’s Board of Directors. The Black Economic Alliance (BEA) is a coalition of Black business leaders and aligned advocates whose aim is to uplift the Black community through public policy, advocacy, and engagement with government and business leaders.

Brewer announced her appointment to the board in a public statement. “BEA has a uniquely powerful mandate to expand Black economic power and prosperity,” said Brewer in a press release. “From my leadership experiences spanning HBCU campuses to the boardrooms of corporate America, I understand first-hand the inextricable link between Black economic advancement and the growth of the entire American economy. I am honored and excited to work with BEA’s Board and leadership and lend my expertise to BEA’s next phase of impact.”

BEA’s CEO, in the statement, expressed excitement over Brewer’s role.

“Roz has spent her trailblazing career breaking down barriers to Black economic advancement,” shared Samantha Tweedy. “She has championed BEA’s priorities of advancing Black work, wages, and wealth at some of the world’s most influential companies, and I look forward to her vision and expertise accelerating BEA’s efforts and impact.” 

In addition to her new role, Brewer serves on other boards, including United Airlines and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture. With this new role, her perspective will be needed in BEA’s work to advance Black economic mobility.

Brewer has a career spanning over  25 years in multiple fields. Before joining Starbucks, the 59-year-old served as president and CEO of Sam’s Club, the eighth-largest U.S. retailer with sales of $57 billion for the fiscal year 2016. The appointment made Brewer the first African American to lead a Walmart division.

Brewer also worked with Kimberly-Clark Corp. for 22 years, beginning as a scientist and advancing to become vice president of the Global Nonwovens Sector in 2004. In 2017, she was nominated for the Starbucks Board of Directors and was named COO in September of that year, making her the second-highest-ranked executive at Starbucks.

Brewer grew up in Detroit and attended Cass Technical High School and Spelman College, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in chemistry. She is also a graduate of the Director’s College at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business/Stanford Law School, and she also attended an advanced management program at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: April 9, 2024


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