Boots names Corbridge as new CIO

Health and beauty retailer Boots has continued its digital restructuring drive with the appointment of Richard Corbridge as CIO.

Corbridge, an experienced technology leader in the healthcare sector, joins the UK & Ireland division of the company’s executive leadership team. He arrived at Boots in May 2019, as innovation director, and has been engaged in multiple initiatives in the last 15 months, such as driving Boots’ digital primary care capability.

Before arriving at Boots, Corbridge led and directed IT and digital innovation in the NHS, in the role of chief digital & information officer. He has held previous CIO posts at Ireland eHealth and the National Institute for Health Research.

Corbridge’s time at Boots has coincided with a period of significant change at the company that has included a Covid-19-influenced acceleration to more digital healthcare services, the launch of several new format flagship stores, and the decision to reduce headcount as part of a move to become more digitally-driven as an organisation.

According to an internal memo seen by Essential Retail, Corbridge will play a key role within the international IT leadership team, contributing to parent group Walgreens Boots Alliance’s (WBA) overall IT strategy.

Current CIO, Greg Michelini, is leaving the business in September to take up another opportunity in the US, where he is based.

A Boots spokesperson said: “We’re excited for Rich to take up his new role and drive further progress on our critical digital transformation journey, and sincerely wish Greg continued success in his future endeavours.”

In the aftermath of the coronavirus-enforced lockdown, Boots launched online video beauty consultations for customers, adding to its recent trials in digital pharmacy and GP appointments.

The retailer announced in July it was making 4,000 job cuts across its head office, stores and optician teams, as it looks to expand its digital business in the wake of the pandemic. Nearly 50 Boots opticians across the UK will close as a result.

In other online developments at Boots, its director of eCommerce & digital retail transformation, Sophie Neary, left the business in July. Jamie Kurruish, vice president for global partnerships & commercial strategy at WBA’s global brands division, is running the UK and Ireland eComm team until a replacement is found.