Beleaguered Rite Aid picks new CIO

Don P. Davis, 48, faces several challenges at the beleaguered Camp Hill, Pa.-based retail pharmacy, including helping the firm return to profitable revenue growth.

Rite Aid Corp. announced today the appointment of Don P. Davis as senior vice president and CIO. Davis, 48, was previously vice president for application delivery at Lowe's Companies Inc. in North Wilkesboro, N.C.

Davis joins a company that has had more than its share of difficulties lately, some of them spilling over into systems. Last October, Camp Hill, Pa.-based Rite Aid ousted its CEO over accounting irregularities and said it would "restate" reported earnings downward by some $500 million.

In September, the state of Florida sued the company for "deceptive trade practices, civil theft and racketeering" for allegedly programming its pharmacy point-of-sale terminals to overcharge certain classes of customers. Rite Aid has denied the charges.

Davis told Computerworld today that his "priorities are to help the company work its way through these issues ... and help the company turn around and get back on the path of growth and profitability it once had."

Asked if these difficulties inhibited him at all from accepting Rite Aid's job offer, Davis said, "Actually, that was attractive."

Davis has 18 years' experience in retail information systems. He began his career in 1982 as a financial analyst at PayLess Drug Stores and, when it merged with Thrifty Drug Stores in 1994, he became senior vice president for IS at Thrifty PayLess.

Asked about the size of the information technology budget he will have to work with at Rite Aid, Davis said, "I don't know yet. I've only been here one day."

Rite Aid has 3,800 stores in 30 states and annual revenue of nearly $13 billion. It owns 20% of Drugstore.com Inc..

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