Rosalind Brewer Assumes New Position Post Unexpected Exit from Fortune 500 CEO Role

In 2021, Rosalind “Roz” Brewer became the first black CEO of a Fortune 500 corporation, leading Walgreens, a pharmacy chain in the United States. Prior to her promotion, Brewer was Starbucks’ chief operating officer.

She left Walgreens in 2023, becoming just the third Black woman to run a Fortune 500 corporation. She has joined the Black Economic Alliance’s Board of Directors. The Black Economic Alliance (BEA) is a collaboration of Black business executives and associated advocates dedicated to improving the Black community through public policy, advocacy, and interaction with government and business leaders.

Brewer confirmed 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 on HBCU campuses to the boardrooms of corporate America, I’ve seen firsthand the inextricable link between Black economic success and the growth of the whole American economy. I am honored and excited to collaborate with BEA’s Board and leadership, as well as contribute my knowledge to the organization’s next chapter of impact.”

In a statement, BEA’s CEO expressed delight about Brewer’s work.

“Roz has spent her trailblazing career breaking down barriers to Black economic advancement,” Samantha Tweedy explained. “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 current position, Brewer sits on the boards of United Airlines and the Smithsonian’s National Museum of African-American History and Culture. Her insight will be valuable in BEA’s efforts to increase Black economic mobility.

Brewer’s career spans over 25 years in several fields. Prior to joining Starbucks, the 59-year-old was president and CEO of Sam’s Club, the eighth-largest retailer in the United States, with $57 billion in sales in fiscal 2016. Brewer’s appointment makes him the first African American to oversee a Walmart division.

Brewer also worked at Kimberly-Clark Corp. for 22 years, starting as a chemist and progressing to vice president of the Global Nonwovens Sector in 2004. She was nominated to the Starbucks Board of Directors in 2017 and became COO in September, giving her the company’s second-highest-ranking executive.

Brewer grew up in Detroit and attended Cass Technical High School and Spelman College, where she earned a bachelor’s degree in Chemistry. She also graduated from the Director’s College at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business/Stanford Law School, as well as an advanced management program at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

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