John Hammergren

A smooth transition as McKesson CEO John Hammergren retires

Current McKesson president, Brian Tyler, will take over in April 2019


Following an 18-year stint as CEO (and later as chairman in addition), McKesson’s John Hammergren will retire in Q2 next year, having piloted a quadrupling of the company’s revenue over that period, and rising to No. 6 on the Fortune 500 list while retaining its position as the No. 1 distributor in the US.

Hammergren has been very good to McKesson, whose revenues are expected to be $214 billion during the current fiscal year (ending in March 2019). At the same time, McKesson has been very, very good to Hammergren, who has been ranked as one of the most well-compensated corporate chieftains in the US for many years. According to Fortune magazine, his cumulative compensation over the 2007-2017 period was $639 million; 2017 compensation was $18.1 million.

Meanwhile, a stockholder vote in 2017 resulting in shaving over $1 million from his compensation, and another cut was imposed this year, in part as a stockholder protest over the company’s entanglements over opioid-based product distribution. McKesson paid a record $150-million fine to DoJ in early 2017 for alleged Controlled Substances Act violations, and is said to face over 1,000 civil suits over opioid distribution practices. “This is the right time to turn the leadership reins over to the next generation and no one is better equipped than Brian to lead McKesson into the future,” Hammergren wrote in a company statement.

Tyler, currently president and COO, has marched all over the McKesson corporate ladder during his 21-year stint at the company. He has been CEO of McKesson Europe, and held leadership roles in North American and US Pharmaceutical, McKesson Specialty Health, and McKesson Med-Surg, among others. He has a PhD in economics from the University of Chicago.

Edward Mueller, 71, currently lead independent director on McKesson’s Board of Directors, will succeed Hammergren as an independent chairman of the Board, also effective April 1, 2019.