Walgreens, the largest drugstore chain in the US, is facing financial difficulties and will be reducing employee bonuses. The company has announced that annual bonuses for corporate staff will be canceled, and bonuses for store and pharmacy managers will be significantly cut. The decision comes as Walgreens deals with disappointing quarterly earnings and labor issues, including ongoing walkouts by pharmacy staff. The company's financial performance has not met expectations, leading to the decision to not fund the bonus payout this year. However, pharmacy managers may still receive up to 25% of their target bonus based on performance reviews. The cutback in bonuses is unrelated to the labor matters and has had minimal impact on the company. In addition to the bonus cut, Walgreens is facing other fiscal problems such as mounting debt, budget cuts, theft, leadership turnover, and understaffing. The company's stock has dropped about 40% this year. These challenges are not unique to Walgreens, as the industry has been affected by the decline in foot traffic due to COVID-19 and the shift to online prescription services. Rival companies like Rite Aid and CVS are also facing financial and labor issues. Furthermore, Walgreens recently had its credit rating downgraded, raising concerns about its cash flow and ability to pay off debts. Despite these challenges, Walgreens remains confident in its future and its ability to deliver value to customers, shareholders, partners, and employees. The company has appointed a new CEO and is focused on evolving healthcare delivery. Employees have expressed frustration over the cancellation of bonuses, highlighting the large paychecks received by executives. Walgreens' former CEO and current executive chair of the board, Stefano Pessina, has a net worth of nearly $7 billion and received over $8 million in compensation last year. Former CEO Rosalind Brewer received a $9 million severance and will receive a monthly consulting fee of $375,000 until February 2024. The reduction in bonuses for pharmacy managers has been criticized for not adequately compensating them for the extra work and legal risks they face. CVS, another major drugstore chain, reported strong earnings but has also faced stock declines and labor issues. Protesters have gathered outside Walgreens headquarters to bring attention to their concerns.
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