Navarro Largest Hispanic Drugstore Prescribes New Leader In Ceos Chair
By Ryan Kelly
Less than two years after he became chief executive officer at Navarro Discount Pharmacy, the largest Hispanic-owned pharmacy chain in the US, Steve Kaczynski resigned and is being replaced by company Chief Financial Officer Juan Ortiz.
Mr. Ortiz joined Navarro as CFO in 2008 after a merger with Atlantic Dental, where he had been CEO.
As Navarro’s top financial executive, he played an integral role in the company’s financial turnaround, as the 2008 financial crisis acutely affected it.
Amidst tough economic times, Mr. Ortiz and his financial team helped to stabilize sales and customer traffic, reduced operating expenses by $10 million in a 24-month period and worked with the company’s owners to recapitalize it.
Mr. Ortiz’s previous career experience includes serving as chief financial officer of Bell Microproducts Latin America, a $350 million computer component distribution and services business.
Navarro said Mr. Kaczynski left to pursue other business interests but didn’t identify what they are. Mr. Kaczynski was traveling and couldn’t be reached.
The company’s aggressive expansion plans developed under Mr. Kaczynski’s short-lived leadership won’t change, Mr. Ortiz said.
Mr. Kaczynski is to serve as a retail consultant for Navarro until year’s end.
The pharmacy, with annual gross revenue of $320 million in fiscal 2011, plans to open new stores, launch its Vida Mia product line, and open a specialty pharmacy, which it hopes to have running by later this year.
Navarro is also working to expand its wholesale footprint, Mr. Ortiz said.
"We have a burgeoning wholesale business that we’re trying to ramp up," he said.
He said he doesn’t expect a difficult transition from top financial officer to CEO.
After being with Navarro’s management team for three years, he said, he is familiar with its operations.
"There is stability in that. There is knowledge in that," he said. "From a learning curve standpoint, there’s not much" to learn.
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