Alliance Boots chief executive Richard Baker has quit the health and beauty giant, after a management shake-up following its takeover by private equity giant KKR last month.

The retailer said Baker has elected to pursue his career elsewhere. Stefano Pessina will become executive chairman.

Boots The Chemist (BTC) managing director Scott Wheway, who was thought to be a strong contender to replace Baker, has also resigned. The group said: ‘Scott felt that as the business enters the next phase of development, his own career plans did not enable him to give a firm commitment to stay for the next few years.’

Alex Gourlay, healthcare director for BTC, has been promoted to managing director of the high street chain. Gourlay has been with the business for 27 years and is a qualified pharmacist.

KKR partner Dominic Murphy and Johannes Huth and Mattia Caprioli also of KKR, have been appointed directors. Ornella Barra, George Fairweather, Steve Duncan, and Marco Pagni will also be joining the board. All the changes will occur with immediate effect.

The group said it intends to appoint other independent non-executive directors, but will announce this in due course.

Commenting on the new structure, Pessina said: ‘We are pleased to announce the new management team. We see fantastic opportunities for a business that is a pharmacy-led, healthcare and beauty expert and a significant player in all its markets. The future potential is enormous and we’re excited about working together to deliver this growth. It’s important to our success that the team is committed to the company for the long-term as we deliver our strategic vision.’

The Group Operating Committee is:

  • Stefano Pessina, executive chairman
  • Dominic Murphy, KKR
  • Mattia Caprioli, KKR
  • Ornella Barra, wholesale and commercial affairs
  • Alex Gourlay, Boots The Chemists
  • Steve Duncan, community pharmacy
  • George Fairweather, group finance
  • Marco Pagni, group legal counsel and chief administrative officer
  • Stephen Lehane, group human resources and corporate affairs
  • Ken Murphy, business transformation