Tom Ryan likes it when people underestimate him, said Matthew Boyle in BusinessWeek. Ryan, the 56-year-old CEO of the CVS drugstore chain, “is very smart, but he doesn’t want you to think that,” says CVS finance chief David Rickard. “He’d rather have you think he’s a nice guy.” But no mere nice guy could execute the string of acquisitions that has transformed CVS “into a national health-care colossus,” with $76 billion in annual sales.
Ryan sees President Obama’s health-care reform drive as his next path to growth. He “wants to use CVS’ vast prescription database to treat patients with chronic diseases.” Ryan believes CVS can mine its data to help patients follow their doctors’ orders—and “keep them out of the hospital, where most medical costs are incurred.” But he’s wary of seeming intrusive. After all, who wants their local pharmacist nagging them to take their meds?