Bloomberg Billionaires Index

View profiles for each of the world’s 500 richest people, see the biggest movers, and compare fortunes or track returns.

#91 Stefano Pessina $13.2B

Random fact: Became Walgreens CEO after Alliance Boots merger.


Pessina is the largest shareholder of Walgreens Boots Alliance, the publicly traded Deerfield, Illinois-based drugstore operator. The pharmacy chain has more than 8,000 stores in the U.S. and had revenue of $117 billion in the year to Aug. 31, 2016. It completed its merger with the Pessina-led Alliance Boots on Dec. 31, 2014.

As of July 23, 2017:
Last change -$129M (-1.0%)
YTD change -$385M (-2.8%)
Industry Retail
Biggest asset WBA US Equity
Citizenship Monaco
Age 76
Wealth Self-made
View net worth over:   Max 1 year 1 quarter 1 month 1 week

Relative Value

Stefano Pessina's net worth of $13.2B can buy ...

troy ounces of gold
barrels of crude oil

... and is equivalent to ...

of the GDP of the United States
of the total wealth of the 500 richest people in the world
of the top 100 U.S. college endowments
of the top 200 U.S. executives’ total awarded compensation
of U.S. existing home sales
times the median U.S. household income

Latest News

Net Worth Summary

Private asset
Public asset
Misc. liabilities
Confidence rating:

The majority of Pessina's fortune is derived from a 13 percent stake in Walgreens Boots Alliance, a publicly traded drugstore operator that has more than 8,000 stores in the U.S., according to its website. He owns the shares in his name and controls them through Luxembourg-based holding companies Newcip and Alliance Sante Participations (ASP), according to the company's 2017 proxy statement. He also owns almost 100,000 restricted stock units that are excluded from the calculation.

He obtained a stake in Walgreens in 2012, after the U.S. company bought 45 percent of closely held Alliance Boots for $6.7 billion. Walgreens exercised its option to buy the remaining 55 percent of Alliance Boots for 3.1 billion pounds ($5.3 billion) in cash and 144.3 million Walgreens shares on Aug. 6, 2014. The deal was completed on Dec. 31, 2014. Pessina is assigned 35 percent of the proceeds from this second transaction based on the economic interest ASP held in Alliance Boots at the time.

The value of the billionaire's cash investments is based on an analysis of dividends, insider transactions, asset sales and taxes.

Laura Vergani, a spokeswoman for Alliance Boots, declined to comment on Pessina's net worth.


Birthdate: 6/4/1941
Family: Separated, 2 children
Education: Politecnico DI Milano, Engineering, Bachelor's Degree

Stefano Pessina was born in 1941 in Pescara on the east coast of Italy, when his father, Oreste, was serving at an air force base there. He studied nuclear engineering at the University of Milan, and worked at the university as an academic before joining market researcher AC Nielsen. He left in 1974 to help run the family's ailing pharmaceutical distribution company.

He began buying smaller pharmaceutical distribution companies in Italy, and after creating Luxembourg-based holding company Alliance Sante expanded across Europe. In 1986, Pessina bought Di Pharma, a pharmaceutical company headed by Ornella Barra, the current CEO of Alliance Boots, creating a business and personal partnership between the two that continues today.

Pessina merged Alliance Sante with London-based pharmaceutical cooperative Unichem to create Alliance Unichem in 1997. Eight years later, the company announced the 7 billion pound ($12.3 billion) merger of Alliance Unichem with Boots, the U.K.'s biggest pharmacy chain. The deal was finalized on July 31, 2006, creating publicly traded Alliance Boots, Europe's biggest drug distributor. Pessina joined with private equity firm KKR the following year to acquire all of Alliance Boots for $22 billion in a leveraged buyout.

Walgreen, the biggest U.S. drugstore operator, paid $6.7 billion in cash and stock for a 45 percent stake in Alliance Boots in 2012. In the deal, Pessina obtained a 7.7 percent stake in Walgreen and retained 18 percent of Alliance Boots. The American drugstore chain exercised its option to buy the rest of the company for $5.2 billion in cash and 144.3 million Walgreen shares in August 2014. The transaction completed on Dec. 31, 2014.

He lives in Monaco with partner Barra.

  • 1941 Stefano Pessina is born in Pescara, on the east coast of Italy.
  • 1974 Joins father, Oreste, to restructure family pharmaceutical firm.
  • 1986 Buys Di Pharma, whose founder is future partner Ornella Barra.
  • 2006 Merges with U.K.'s Boots pharmacy chain to create Alliance Boots.
  • 2007 Partners with KKR to take Alliance Boots private for $22 billion.
  • 2008 Moves Alliance Boots headquarters to Switzerland to reduce tax.
  • 2014 Walgreens completes purchase of rest of Boots.
  • 2015 Made CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance.