CVS CEO to step down, hand reins to Aetna chief

CVS Health President and CEO Larry Merlo will step down from his role in February.

Karen Lynch, president of CVS' Aetna insurance unit, will succeed Mr. Merlo as CVS president and CEO, effective Feb. 1. 

Ms. Lynch will also join the company's board of directors upon assuming her new role. 

Mr. Merlo began his career at CVS as a community pharmacist 40 years ago and has served at the helm for a decade. 

He will continue to serve on CVS' board until May 2021 and will act as a strategic adviser to assist with the leadership transition. He will officially retire from CVS May 31.

"I am incredibly proud to have had the opportunity to lead CVS Health over the past decade as we pursue our important purpose to help people on their path to better health," Mr. Merlo said.

The leadership transition comes two years after CVS finalized its $69 billion acquisition of health insurer Aetna.

"I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to succeed Larry and lead CVS Health on the next phase of our important journey to meet America's healthcare needs," Ms. Lynch said.

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