A Walgreen Company executive improperly took a competitor’s confidential financial data, forcing the drugstore to withdraw from the bidding for a contract to provide pharmacy services for the City of Chicago and most local government agencies. Walgreen is out of the bidding for the contract, worth hundreds of millions of dollars, after a company executive obtained bid materials from CVS Caremark as the two companies competed for the contract. The Walgreen executive is no longer with the company, and Walgreen hired prominent former federal prosecutor, Patrick M. Collins, to conduct an internal investigation. Walgreen officials said the incident was the action of a sole employee who did not have authorization from superiors.
Walgreen executives handled this crisis responsibly. Immediately retaining outside counsel to lead an internal investigation was a good choice because it seems as though the company has nothing to hide. Walgreen executives dealt with the employee and issues at hand, instead of covering it up. Walgreen did the right thing when they willingly removed themselves from the bidding process. By following crisis communication steps Walgreen executives minimized negative publicity.