Biography Philanthropists

Stefano Pessina

Stefano Pessina

Born June 4, 1941 (age 77)
Pescara, Italy
Nationality Monegasque[1]
Alma mater Polytechnic University of Milan
Occupation Businessman
Years active 1966–present
Net worth US$11.8 billion (August 2018)[2]
Title Vice chairman and CEO, Walgreens Boots Alliance
Term 2015 – present
Board member of Walgreens Boots Alliance
Spouse(s) Barbara Pessina (divorced)
Partner(s) Ornella Barra (life partner for over 30 years)
Children 2

Stefano Pessina (born June 4, 1941)[3][4] is an Italian-born Monegasque billionaire businessman and the vice chairman, chief executive officer (CEO), and the single largest shareholder of Walgreens Boots Alliance.[2][5][6][7]

Early life[edit]

Pessina was born in Pescara and grew up between Milan, Como and Naples.[4]

He graduated from the Polytechnic University of Milan in nuclear engineering before starting his career in academia and later joining market research firm ACNielsen in Milan.[5][8]


In 1977, Pessina took over his family’s pharmaceutical wholesaler in Naples and turned it into Alliance Santé, a Franco-Italian pharmaceutical wholesale group.[2][5][9] In 1997, it merged with Alliance UniChem, and he joined its board of directors.[5][9][7] From 2001 to 2004, he served as its CEO.[9] He served as deputy chairman, and later as chairman. The company merged with Boots Group PLC in 2006 and was taken private in July 2007.[9][5] Pessina was chairman of Alliance Boots from 2007 to 2014 and currently serves as Executive Vice Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.[5]Pessina is a director of Walgreens Boots Alliance.[9][10] He is a director of the Consumer Goods Forum.[5][11]

Personal life[edit]

Pessina has been the partner of Ornella Barra since 1985; she is co-chief operating officer of Walgreens Boots Alliance.[12]

Pessina is divorced and has two adult children.[13] His ex-wife is the cousin of the architect Richard Rogers.[14] His son Jacopo Pessina serves as Director M&A and Healthcare Innovation International at Walgreens Boots Alliance.[15]

As of February 2015, he is worth US$11.4 billion, owning around 15% of Walgreens Boots Alliance.[2]. He has lived in Monte Carlo, Monaco, for many years.[4]

UK Labour Party controversy[edit]

In a 31 January 2015 interview for The Sunday Telegraph, Pessina commented on the prospect of Britain’s Labour Party winning the UK general election in May 2015, “If they acted as they speak, it would be a catastrophe … The problem is would they act that way or not? One thing is to threaten and to shout but it is completely different to be in charge and to manage the country day-to-day.” He described Labour’s business policies as “not helpful for business, not helpful for the country and in the end it probably won’t be helpful for them”.[16] The Sunday Telegraph noted that Pessina “declined to elaborate on which specific policies he disliked”.[16]

On Sunday 1 February, Labour’s shadow Business Secretary Chuka Umunna, responded in The Independent, “The British people and British businesses will draw their own conclusions when those who don’t live here, don’t pay tax in this country and lead firms that reportedly avoid making a fair contribution in what they pay purport to know what is in Britain’s best interest.”[17] On 2 February, in a live Q&A session with Sky News, the Labour Party leader Ed Miliband said, “The chairman of Boots lives in Monaco and doesn’t pay British taxes … I don’t think people should take kindly to being told how to vote by someone who avoids paying his taxes.”[18]

On 2 February, Walgreens Boots Alliance stated, “The comments made by Stefano Pessina were a small part of a much larger conversation and have been taken out of context … Stefano Pessina was expressing his personal views only and is not campaigning against Ed Miliband or the Labour Party.”[19] On 6 February, Allister Heath, deputy editor of The Telegraph, described the “attacks” by Labour and Liberal Democrat politicians on Pessina, “one of the world’s greatest entrepreneurs”, as being “as nonsensical as they were indefensible”.[20]


  1. Jump up^ “Board of directors” Retrieved 2016-01-19.
  2. Jump up to:a b c d “The World’s Billionaires: Stefano Pessina”. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  3. Jump up^ “Stefano PESSINA”Companies House. Retrieved 23 January 2017.
  4. Jump up to:a b c Hooper, John. “The secretive world of the Italian tycoon who is stalking Boots”The Guardian. Guardian News and Media Limited. Retrieved 2 January 2014.
  5. Jump up to:a b c d e f g “About Stefano Pessina” Retrieved 2018-08-28.
  6. Jump up^ [1] Archived 28 March 2014 at the Wayback Machine.
  7. Jump up to:a b Andrea Felsted, Dealmaking flair of Alliance Boots headThe Financial Times, 22 June 2012
  8. Jump up^ Sideri Massimo, Pessina, signore delle farmacie che tenta la scalata in EuropaCorriere della Sera, 1/2/2014
  9. Jump up to:a b c d e “Stefano Pessina”. Archived from the original on 28 March 2014. Retrieved 23 April 2014.
  10. Jump up^ “Today’s Stock Market News and Analysis” Retrieved 2016-01-19.
  11. Jump up^ “History of The Consumer Goods Forum” Archived from the original on 31 August 2012. Retrieved 19 January 2016.
  12. Jump up^ “Work is the drug that keeps Boots billionaire on song”The Sunday Times. November 2012.
  13. Jump up^
  14. Jump up^ “ – Connecting People Through News” Retrieved 27 November 2017.
  15. Jump up^ “Metro Bank Plc-Wi – Jacopo Pessina – Bloomberg”. 2018-08-28. Archived from the original on 2018-08-28.
  16. Jump up to:a b Ruddick, Graham (31 January 2015). “Labour government will be catastrophic for Britain, warns Boots boss”The Sunday Telegraph. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  17. Jump up^ Bawden, Tom (1 February 2015). “Boots boss Stefano Pessina (who lives in Monaco) branded a ‘disgrace’ for attack on Ed Miliband”The Independent. Retrieved 16 February2015.
  18. Jump up^ “SUBC: Miliband Attacks Boots Boss Over Tax”Sky News. 1 February 2015. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  19. Jump up^ Grice, Andrew (2 February 2015). “Ed Miliband: ‘Boots boss Stefano Pessina should pay his taxes'”The Independent. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
  20. Jump up^ Heath, Allister (6 February 2015). “These attacks against Stefano Pessina are unfair and must end”The Telegraph. Retrieved 16 February 2015.