With Heyward Donigan as its new CEO, Rite Aid says it now has a top executive that can help it get results from its big push into digital healthcare.

Rite Aid Corp. has a new chief executive—one the struggling drugstore chain retailer believes has the chops to pull off the chain’s big push into ecommerce and digital healthcare.

This morning Rite Aid named Heyward Donigan as its new CEO. She replaces outgoing CEO John Standley, who is leaving the company. Standley was named CEO in June 2010 and was Rite Aid president president from September 2008 until June 2013. He was eligible for a total compensation package of about $7.9 million in 2019, including a base annual salary of $1.22 million, according to the company’s latest proxy filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Standley led a big drug chain that has been struggling financially and looking to reinvent the company using digital technology to keep pace with more digitally advanced competitors including Walgreens Boots Alliance Inc., CVS Health and Amazon.com. For the first quarter ended June 1, Rite Aid reported a drop in sales of 0.3% to $5.372 billion from $5.388 billion in the first quarter of 2018.  Net loss from continuing operations was $99.3 million compared to last year’s first quarter net loss of $41.7 million.

The drugstore chain’s shares have lost almost half their value this year so far, and are down 96% since a 2015 all-time high, according to Bloomberg.

With Donigan as its new CEO, Rite Aid says it now has a top executive that can help it get results from its big push into digital healthcare. Prior to the Rite Aid announcement, Donigan served as president and CEO of Sapphire Digital (formerly Vitals.com), which  develops and markets SmartShopper, a healthcare search and comparison shopping program that lets consumers find a doctor and estimate costs, view their out-of-pocket costs for a procedure and sort providers by quality rating and distance. They can also read and write reviews.


Prior to Sapphire Digital, Donigan was CEO of Value Options, worked as executive vice president and chief marketing officer of Premera Blue Cross and as senior vice president in charge of operations for Cigna Healthcare.  “Her broad healthcare knowledge and digital shopping technology expertise set her apart,” says Rite Aid chairman Bruce Bodaken.

Rite Aid CEO Heyward Donigan

Since June Rite Aid has introduced a string of digital initiatives aimed at attracting and retaining more healthcare shoppers.

Last week Rite Aid Corp. subsidiary RediClinic, an operator of walk-in clinics in select Rite Aid drugstores and H-E-B grocery stores, rolled out RediClinic Express, a telehealth kiosk that will let customers see a doctor online.

Rite Aid currently operates 26 clinics in Rite Aid stores in Philadelphia and New Jersey and 36 clinics in H-E-B grocery stores in Texas, in Austin, Houston and San Antonio. H-E-B is privately owned and operates more than 350 stores in Texas and in northeast Mexico.


Initially, Rite Aid has deployed telehealth kiosks in RediClinic walk-in centers in Drexel Hill and West Chester in Pennsylvania, with other Pennsylvania locations in Langhorne, Huntingdon Valley and Narberth to follow.

On June 19, Rite Aid, based in Camp Hill, Pennsylvania, also announced a new multiyear relationship with Adobe that centers on Rite Aid deploying Adobe Experience Cloud, an integrated suite of ecommerce, online marketing and web analytics products.

Rite Aid has yet to release details on deploying the new Adobe technology, including the cost of installing and running Adobe Experience and a technology deployment timeline. By deploying new and better ecommerce technology and working more closely with Adobe, Rite Aid plans on gathering and synthesizing more customer data to build more personalized shopper and patient profiles.