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Walgreens has expanded its CIO’s role into a global position after announcing it will buy out the rest of the UK’s high street chemist chain Alliance Boots.

Walgreens has expanded its CIO’s role into a global position after announcing it will buy out the rest of the UK’s high street chemist chain Alliance Boots.

Tim Theriault, chief information, innovation and improvement officer at the American pharmacy chain, will assume the role of executive vice-president and global chief information officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance, the companies said today.

The Walgreens board is now asking shareholders to approve the £9 billion deal to buy the remaining 55 percent stake in Boots that it does not yet own. It bought a 45 percent stake in the chemist in June 2012.

It is not yet known what will happen to Alliance Boots’ group CIO Anthony Roberts or Boots’ director of IT Erwin van Vroenhoven. A spokesperson for the company told ComputerworldUK that "for now, there are no plans for any job losses or store closures".

Boots has been carrying out an IT transformation programme involving rationalising and modernising its SAP IT estate.

It has a contract with Cognizant and Steria for application management and maintenance. Other providers include IBM, which is the company’s managed service provider across the UK, Ireland and international online business.

In an interview last year with ComputerworldUK’s sister title CIO UK, former Boots CIO Jonathan Vardon - who left in September 2013 - said that the strategy for the next three years was to make sure that IT was “all about the customer”.

“All our KPIs are about how we help the stores to trade, increase sales and ensure there is a feelgood factor for stores, customers and colleagues,” he said at the time.

"I'm really excited about the ambition to have IT at the centre of that transformation."

It remains to be seen how Boots’ strategy will fit in with its American owner’s plans to cut costs by $1 billion by the end of its 2017 fiscal year to “establish an efficient global enterprise”. This is part of the three-year ‘Next Chapter’ plan that the combined company also announced today.

"We are uniquely positioned to be a leader and a champion for accessible, affordable health care, and that means continuing to innovate, to find new ways to be as efficient as possible, and more agile and nimble as we compete in the worldwide market,” said Walgreens Boots Alliance president and CEO Greg Wasson.

The combined company will be the largest purchaser of prescription drugs and other health products in the world, with more than 11,000 stores in 10 countries and 370 distribution centres.

Its main headquarters will be in the Chicago area. Boots will continue to be headquartered in Nottingham.